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Monthly archive for July 2019

Different Types of CGM Devices

Different Types of CGM Devices

Different Types of CGM Devices

CGMs (Continuous Glucose Monitoring) always have the same three components: sensor, transmitter, and receiver. However, the way those components work varies significantly. If you are new to CGM systems knowing what type of CGM to purchase can be overwhelming.

The first thing that you should do when deciding on a specific type of CGM is to consult your healthcare provider and insurance company. Your physician may have a specific type of CGM in mind for your situation. Or, your insurance company may only cover a specific CGM model.

After consulting your physician and insurance company, then it’s time to read this article. It will explain the four different CGM types, their pros and cons, and how to choose between them.

CGM suppliers

Since each supplier’s CGM is so different, it is worth a quick review of the four main CGM brands.

Dexcom
Dexcom was the second company to have its CGM approved in 2006. They were founded in 1999, so they are much younger than Medtronic. However, Dexcom also excels in the production of medical devices. Dexcom is headquartered in San Diego, CA.

Currently, they manufacture products specifically designed for diabetes. These include CGM systems, online apps, and pumps. US Med offers the Dexcom G5 Mobile and the G6 CGM.

Abbott
Abbott Laboratories is another American health care company that produces CGMs. They have the longest history of the four companies described here, as they were founded in 1888. But, it wasn’t until 2008 that their CGM was approved by the FDA.

Today you will find pharmaceuticals, devices, diagnostics, and nutrition supplements made by Abbott Laboratories. They do not specialize in CGMs or diabetes-related products. However, Abbott’s Freestyle Libre System is a major trendsetter.

Eversense
The newest CGM brand is Eversense. Their implantable CGM was approved by the FDA in 2018. Like Dexcom, Eversense specializes in diabetes management systems. They currently offer a single CGM in the United States. Their Eversense XL was approved for use in Europe in 2017.

Different types of CGM devices

There are currently four main CGM systems on the market. Each one of these systems is manufactured by one of the four suppliers listed above.

Guardian Sensor 3

The current iteration of Medtronic’s CGM is the Guardian Sensor 3. It provides continuous readings of your blood glucose levels. The sensor only lasts seven days, but it is 80% smaller than the Enlite sensor.

Plus, this CGM system connects with the Sugar.IQ personal diabetes assistant by Medtronic. The assistant provides information about your daily patterns and how they affect your glucose levels.

 

Pros
Alarms tell you when your blood sugar is too high or low.
Has both Android and iPhone apps.
Can share your glucose data.

Cons
Requires fingerstick measurements.
Only approved for ages 18+
Using acetaminophen affects your readings.

 

G5/G6

Dexcom’s G5 Mobile and G6 are approved for anyone over two. The G6 does not need fingerstick calibration while the G5 does need calibration. The sensor on the G5 lasts for seven days and the sensor for the G6 lasts for ten days. The G6 can even take accurate readings when you have ingested acetaminophen.

Despite their differences, all of the Dexcom CGMs use the continuous tracking method, which continuously monitors your glucose levels. Alarms will sound on these devices when your blood glucose has reached thresholds that are either too high or too low.

 

Pros
Continuous monitoring and alarm system keeps you informed.
Data is sent directly to your Smartphone app.
You can customize the alerts.
Approved for anyone over two

Cons
Sensors for both machines have to be replaced often
You can’t reuse the sensors.
Both systems are expensive.

 

Freestyle Libre

Abbott’s Freestyle Libre is a revolutionary CGM device. It was approved in 2017 and is the first CGM that does not require fingerstick calibration or measurements. In terms of ease of use, the Freestyle Libre cannot be beaten. This is the only type of CGM that does not provide continuous reading or automatic alarms. You must tell the device when you want to know your glucose levels

The sensor is external, so it does not require a physician to put it in. The sensor will also last you fourteen days. The Freestyle Libre reader can store up to ninety days of your blood glucose data, and the sensor itself store up to eight hours of unread data.

 

Pros
Does not need fingersticks.
Covered by Medicare.
Sensor lasts fourteen days.
Sensor can store eight hours of unread data.

Cons
The Freestyle Libre system available in the U.S. does not have alarms.
Can not share your data with other programs.
Reader must be charged once per week.

 

Eversense—Implantable CGM

The newest type of CGM on the market, the Eversense Implantable CGM uses an implanted sensor, which means that you don’t have to worry about changing anything for 90 days. The Eversense XL, already approved in Europe, lasts a whopping 180 days. Because this CGM system uses an internal sensor, the transmitter still has to be placed on your skin, so you will still have part of the device visible.

The Eversense CGM system uses continuous monitoring of your blood glucose levels. Because your levels are constantly monitored, alarms will sound when they go either too high or too low.

 

Pros
Does not need fingersticks.
Covered by Medicare.
Sensor lasts fourteen days.
Sensor can store eight hours of unread data.

Cons
The Freestyle Libre system available in the U.S. does not have alarms.
Can not share your data with other programs.
Reader must be charged once per week.

 

Conclusion

As you can tell, the four types of CGM have similarities and differences. You will find some variation in the location of the sensor (inside or outside your skin), the alarm system, the approved age range, and the sensor life. But, other than that, all four types of CGM work the same. The product you choose will depend on your lifestyle and physician recommendation.

 

Top Suppliers for CGM

Top Suppliers for CGM

Top Suppliers for CGM

Living with diabetes can be hard enough. You shouldn’t have to worry about sticking yourself with needles multiple times a day. Instead, ask your doctor about Continuous Glucose Monitoring (or CGM). These systems are composed of a small sensor and transceiver device that constantly monitor your blood sugar levels. To learn more about CGM and discover if it is right for you, read this article.

US Med has a number of CGM devices to sell, but you may still be confused about the different manufacturers. What are the top suppliers for CGM devices, you may be wondering? If this is the case continue reading, for in today’s article we will discuss Dexcom, Abbott, and Eversense, the top suppliers for CGM.

What to look for in a CGM supplier

CGMs have only been on the market since 1999. The Medtronic MiniMed was the first CGM approved by the FDA. Since that time three other companies have entered the CGM market: Abbott, Dexcom, and Eversense. But, how do you choose between them?

Finding a CGM supplier with products that will work for you can be overwhelming. But, this article is here to help. Keep in mind the following factors when looking for a good CGM supplier.

1) No matter which supplier you choose, you will be receiving a good product. All of the products from these suppliers have been proven successful. So, do not worry about making the wrong decision. The best CGM supplier is the one who makes a product that will work for you. US Med’s available CGMs can be found here.
2) Is calibration required? Calibration is the process by which your CGM knows your unique blood glucose levels. When your CGM calibrates it takes fingerstick blood glucose readings at specified periods. These readings are then turned into a baseline calibration, which helps your CGM stay accurate. However, not all modern CGMs require calibration. So, if you do not want to worry about this step, we’d recommend purchasing the Freestyle Libre.
3) How long is the sensor life? Sensor life is another important factor to consider when looking for a CGM supplier. The longer the sensor’s life, the more time you have without changing it. Longer sensor life also saves you money because you do not have to purchase a new sensor too often.
4) Approved for what ages? Depending on who you are purchasing the CGM for, this can be a make-or-break category. If you have a child that needs a CGM, then you need to purchase from a supplier whose products are approved for young children. If you are purchasing the CGM for yourself or another adult, then your CGM supplier options are larger. All CGM suppliers’ products are approved for people at least 18 years old and up.
5) Cost? Cost is going to be an important consideration for anyone. The higher the cost, the harder it will be for some people to purchase from a CGM supplier. Also, keep in mind that not all insurance companies will cover CGMs from all suppliers. Make sure to check with your insurance company before making your purchase.

Top suppliers for CGM

Abbott
Abbott is the manufacturer of the Freestyle Libre. This revolutionary CGM was approved by the FDA in 2008. The Freestyle Libre was revolutionary because it does not require fingerstick calibrations. In fact, the device cannot perform calibrations at all.

The Freestyle Libre has other important features that have put Abbott ahead of the competition as well. First, it stores a whopping ninety days of your blood glucose data. Second, the sensor lasts for fourteen days, which is a longer life than the Dexcom products. Finally, the Freestyle Libre is quite affordable and most often covered by insurance plans.

One drawback to the Freestyle Libre is that it is only approved for people eighteen and older. So, you will not be able to purchase this CGM for a child.

Dexcom
Dexcom was the second company to have its CGM approved by the FDA. The Dexcom CGM was approved in 2006. Now the supplier is on models G5 and G6. Clearly, Dexcom continues to improve and refine its offerings–you will never have to worry about Dexcom’s products being out-of-date.

Both the G5 and G6 are user-friendly and convenient. They are approved for ages two and up, which makes them a great option for families with children. The G5 requires fingerstick calibration twice daily; however, the G6 does not require any calibration. Unlike the Freestyle Libre, the G6 does have a calibration option. The sensor life of the G5 is seven to fourteen days, while the G6’s sensor life is ten days.

The biggest drawback with the Dexcom CGM systems is their cost. The G5 is covered by most insurance plans, but the G6 is not. Both systems can run upwards of a thousand dollars, so most people will need their insurance company’s help.

Eversense
Eversense is the most recent CGM supplier to have a product approved by the FDA in 2018. It is an implantable CGM system, and so has a sensor life of three months. Their sensor life is much longer than any other CGM system on the market. And, the sensor itself is extremely tiny. You will never know that it is underneath your skin.

Additionally, the Eversense CGM system does not require fingerstick calibration. And, all of your blood glucose data is sent wirelessly every five minutes. Eversense’s CGM system takes all of the guesswork out of diabetes management.

Conclusion

Living with diabetes doesn’t need to be a chore. By finding a great CGM system from one of these suppliers, you can get accurate and life-saving blood glucose data easily. No longer do you have to rely on painful fingerstick pricks. Abbott, Dexcom, and Eversense have all created products on the cutting edge of technology to help you manage your diabetes safer, more conveniently, and pain-free.

Try one of the systems offered by US Med and feel the difference for yourself.

How to Get Started Using a CGM

How to Get Started Using a CGM

How to Get Started Using a CGM

If you and your doctor have decided that you should try a CGM, you may be at a loss for what to do next. You’ve done all this research about which supplier and type of CGM to purchase, but perhaps you don’t know what to do now that you have received your new CGM.

Now you no longer have to wonder how to get started using your CGM. This article covers all of the basics you need to know to use your CGM properly and effectively.

What is a CGM

What a CGM (or Continuous Glucose Monitoring System) is has been covered in other posts on the US Med website. Check out this article for more information.

However, as a quick reminder, let’s go over some CGM basics. A CGM is comprised of three parts: the sensor, the receiver, and the transmitter. The sensor attaches to your skin and tracks your subcutaneous blood glucose levels over time. The sensors have to be changed at regular intervals, with the amount of time you can leave them on your skin varying by brand. The sensor includes a transmitter that sends data to the receiver—often your own Smart devices in modern systems—which then displays the information for you.

CGMs are a great way to reduce the need for daily fingersticks. They have also been shown to help people manage their own blood sugar levels, and thus reduce hypoglycemic episodes. A large amount of data these devices supply help put you in the driver’s seat of your diabetes management. But, they have to be used correctly for you to receive these benefits.

Using a CGM

The sensor is the trickiest part of a CGM system to get right. The transmitter is included in the sensor, so you do not have to fiddle with it at all. And, modern CGM systems all the receiver to be your Smartphone or tablet. So, you will not have to carry around a pager-like device to read your blood glucose data.

When you receive your CGM make sure to completely read its user guide. Every system will be slightly different. Although the steps will be relatively similar, you should check the order laid out here against your device’s requirements.

For the purposes of streamlining, the steps listed below are for the Freestyle Libre system. This CGM does not require fingerstick calibration, which makes it extremely easy to use. However, bear in mind that you will likely need to perform some type of fingerstick calibration if you purchase a different CGM.

To get started with the Freestyle Libre, open your package and pull out the reader, sensor pack, and sensor applicator. Make sure that you are familiar with all aspects of these three components. Then charge your reader and prepare to assemble and apply the sensor.

As mentioned above, applying the sensor is the trickiest part of using a CGM. The sensor for the Freestyle Libre should be attached on the back of your upper arms. Choose an application site that is clean and does not have any skin imperfections. Then clean the site with an alcoholic wipe.

Once your application site is ready to be used, put the sensor in the applicator. The sensor will be completely covered by the applicator—it has a needle, so do not put your finger inside the applicator for any reason. Then put the applicator on the site and press down firmly. Pull the applicator off of your arm and gently press the adhesive on the sensor on to your skin.

Now the Freestyle Libre sensor is applied, so it’s time to align it with the reader. Turn the reader on and press the “start new sensor” button. Bring the reader close to the sensor to scan it. Wait twelve hours initially for the reader to calibrate with the sensor. Then you can track your blood glucose as normal.

Most of the CGM systems on the market will have similar start-up procedures. Clearly, applying the sensor is tricky, but the rest of the process should be fairly automatic. If you have questions consult your user manual, healthcare professional, or the customer service line of your CGM supplier.

CGM Tips and Tricks
When getting started with your CGM, there are a few tips and tricks to remember so that the process goes smoothly.

1) Read your user manual before applying anything.
2) Always place the sensor on the recommended site. Often a specific area of your body is the only approved site for the CGM and placing the sensor somewhere else can cause inaccurate readings.
3) Calibrate your CGM system as your user manual describes and on the correct timetable. Whether you need fingerstick calibration or not, this process ensures that your CGM readings remain accurate.
4) Don’t become too overwhelmed by all the alerts at first. This is an important time in your life with a CGM. As you learn more about how to manage your blood glucose, the number of alerts will decrease.

Conclusion

CGMs can be a literal lifesaver for someone with blood glucose issues. Whether you have diabetes, hypoglycemia, or another blood sugar condition, you should consider purchasing a CGM. In order to have the best CGM experience possible, it is important that you start the process correctly. Once you understand exactly how to set up and use your CGM, the process will become automatic. But, be prepared for the first couple of sensor applications to take some time.

In this article, you have learned the start-up process for the Freestyle Libre and some tips and tricks to help you stay sane as you transition to a CGM. Additionally, our customer care representatives at US Med are happy to answer any questions you may have and help you get off to a great start with your CGM. Contact us today to learn more about our line of CGMs and what they can do for you.

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