August 14, 2018
CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitoring) A Beginner’s Guide.
When you live with diabetes a common term you might hear is Continuous Glucose Monitoring, also known as CGM. For the uninitiated to the world of diabetes management, using a CGM might seem an overwhelmingly daunting task. All types of…
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When you live with diabetes a common term you might hear is Continuous Glucose Monitoring, also known as CGM. For the uninitiated to the world of diabetes management, using a CGM might seem an overwhelmingly daunting task. All types of questions can present you with a challenge, but you’re not alone! Read on for answers to all of your CGM questions.
What is a CGM?
CGM or Continuous Glucose Monitoring consists of a transceiver device with an attached small sensor that fits underneath the epidermal layer your skin. CGM models may vary so it will usually be placed in an area on your arm or your stomach. This sensor measures glucose levels found in your interstitial fluid, the fluid found between your cells and is a good method of measuring sugar levels of the body.
These devices persistently analyze glucose levels and sends that data to a wireless monitor nearby. Depending on the type of device you are using and programmed settings the sensor can collect readings every 1-15 minutes. If glucose falls too low, it will trigger an alarm on the monitoring device, usually worn on a belt clip nearby. Some newer models are able to send collected data to a computer, smartphone, or tablet.
Who Should Use CGM?
If you suffer from a lot of blood sugar highs and lows, hypoglycemia/hyperglycemia, check your blood sugar more than 4 times a day, inject insulin 3 times a day or more – or use an insulin pump – speak to your doctor about using a CGM system.
Pros of Using CGM
- Reduces the need for traditional glucose checks by pricking of the finger, by providing real-time updates on sugar levels.
- Provides a way to communicate your levels with family and caretakers/physicians through compatible apps.
- Most CGMs have alerts to keep you informed of dangerous high or low sugar levels 24 hours a day and store your glucose data so you can better make treatment decisions based on trends. Unlike single-time glucometer testing, most CGMs report on sugar levels every five minutes giving you an average of 288 glucose readings per day stored in your receiver.
- Understanding exactly when your blood sugar spikes can help tremendously on keeping the condition under control. This data takes much of the guesswork out of managing diabetes by identifying fluctuations caused by food, exercise, and lifestyle choices.
Cons of Using CGM
- CGM systems can be costly and are not covered by certain health insurance plans.
- Fingersticks may still be necessary for the first few days while the system adjusts to reading your interstitial fluid.
What’s Included in a CGM System?
All available systems now are somewhat different, but will usually include a sensor and a monitoring device. Some systems are now smartphone, tablet, and computer compatible with special software to interface with the sensor. Some research would be necessary to learn about the numerous apps and add-ons included with their corresponding systems. Here at US MED we offer systems from trusted brand names like Dexcom, FreeStyle, Animas, Tandem, and Eversense.
Should your health care provider suggest a Continuous Glucose Management system to help manage your diabetes or blood sugar condition, there are quite a number of options available. Make sure to do some additional research to make sure you get a system that best fits your lifestyle. US MED has more information on CGM systems below, as well as a number to call should you need additional guidance in choosing the right CGM system for you.