Glucose Monitoring For Patients Living With Diabetes
The NHS Long Term Plan made a commitment to ensure that in line with clinical guidelines, patients with Type 1 diabetes benefit from life changing flash glucose monitors from April 2019, ending the variation patients in some parts of the country are facing.
It also commits to offering all pregnant women with Type 1 diabetes a continuous glucose monitor, helping to improve neonatal outcomes by 2020/21.
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Flash Sensors And Cgm Sensors
With a flash glucose monitor, sensors should be worn on the arms only. And we recommend that they arent placed over areas with tattoos as this could impact your results. With a CGM, you can wear the sensor on different parts of the body, such as your abdomen.
The sensors dont normally need to be taken off. You can usually wear them in the bath, shower and during sports. But some people do have problems with them falling off. There are adhesives you can buy to keep them in place.
You cannot remove a sensor for a while once it has come off you need to replace it with a new one.
How often you have to change the sensor will depend on the type of model youre using and the manufacturers instructions. Youll usually need to change it at least once every 14 days.
Its quick and painless to put on a sensor. You insert them just under the skin using an applicator.
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Is A Continuous Glucose Monitor The Same As An Insulin Pump
No, CGM devices and insulin pumps are not the same.
They do very different things:
- CGM devices measure your glucose level automatically every few minutes, all day long.
- Insulin pumps deliver a steady flow of insulin based on instructions you give.
But they are similar in some ways. Both CGM devices and insulin pumps are:
- Automated: They work all day and night for as long as you wear them.
- Worn directly on your body: Most people wear CGM devices and pumps on their arm or belly.
- Customizable: You can adjust CGM and pumps based on your life and how diabetes affects you.
- Convenient: With CGM, you need fewer fingerstick tests. Insulin pumps mean fewer injections .
- Not a quick fix: CGM and pumps both help you better manage diabetes. But each device requires you to actively use it and direct your own treatment decisions.
What To Look For
If youve used a traditional glucose monitor in the past and are looking for a less painful, more portable option, then a CGM may be a better choice. You may consider the Libre, G6, Guardian Connect, or Eversense based on their features, as well the accuracy and duration of sensor wear.
While insurance and Medicare do cover CGMs, these monitors are more expensive overall. Depending on your insurance, they may offer coverage for one type of CGM but not another. Its important to check these details with your provider ahead of time.
If you dont have insurance, you can check with your doctor or pharmacist for discounts on your CGM and accessories. Its also possible to get coupons directly from the manufacturer to help offset the costs.
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Measuring Blood Sugar With A Wave Of The Arm
- American Chemical Society
- People with diabetes could soon be waving goodbye to the pain and hassle of needles, thanks to a new under-skin sensor that monitors blood sugar levels with a simple wave of the arm.
People with diabetes could soon be waving goodbye to the pain and hassle of needles, thanks to a new under-skin sensor that monitors blood sugar levels with a simple wave of the arm.
The sensor, which is smaller than a dime and paper thin, is based on the same theory behind plastic security tags used in stores to prevent shoplifting. The device, which will be described in the July 15 edition of Analytical Chemistry, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, also shows promise for monitoring environmental toxins and terrorism agents like ricin.
“The vision of our work is a passive sensor of virtually unlimited lifetime that could be placed in the tissue of the skin,” says Craig Grimes, Ph.D., a professor of electrical engineering at Penn State University and lead author of the paper.
Designed as an inexpensive device to continually monitor the blood glucose levels of people with diabetes, the passive sensor requires no internal power supply and no connections outside the body, according to Grimes and his associates. “Whenever a reading is needed, a person can wave their hand or arm in front of a reader that will automatically detect the sensor,” Grimes says.
What Devices Are Available To Me
In Australia, this technology is available in FreeStyle Libre and FreeStyle Libre 2.
The FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System has been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Association for persons aged 4 and older who require insulin to manage their diabetes. For children , approval is limited to those whose diabetes management is supervised by a caregiver who is at least 18 years of age.
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Buying A Cgm Or Flash Glucose Monitor
If you dont qualify for a flash glucose monitor or CGM, your main option is to self-fund a device. Its expensive so if its something youre thinking of doing, its worth speaking to your healthcare team first to see if they think its something that would suit you.
There is only one flash glucose monitor manufactured at the moment. This is called the Freestyle Libre . Both are offered on the NHS to people who qualify and are available to buy.
How Finger Prick Checks Differ To Cgm/flash Readings
A finger prick check tells you what your blood sugar level is at that moment.
With a flash glucose monitor or CGM, whats being measured is the amount of sugar in the fluid surrounding your cells. This is called interstitial fluid. Its not quite as accurate as a finger prick test as it lags behind blood sugar levels by up to 15 minutes. And the difference between the blood sugar and CGM or flash reading is more likely to be greater when youre eating or exercising.
So even if youre offered a flash glucose monitor or CGM by your healthcare team,its important that you still get your diabetes kit on prescription including your blood glucose meter to let you do finger prick checks. “
“I found that pricking my finger up to ten times a day was challenging and sometimes painful so I got the freestyle libre 2 sensor which has helped a huge tonne. Alfie, 15
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What Is Continuous Glucose Monitoring
Continuous glucose monitoring automatically tracks blood glucose levels, also called blood sugar, throughout the day and night. You can see your glucose level anytime at a glance. You can also review how your glucose changes over a few hours or days to see trends. Seeing glucose levels in real time can help you make more informed decisions throughout the day about how to balance your food, physical activity, and medicines.
Create A Journal To Log Your Blood Sugar Each Time You Test It
There are also apps available that can help you track this information and keep a running tally of your average blood sugar. You may also want to record the time of day youre testing and how long its been since you last ate.
This information will help your doctor track your blood sugar and can be important when diagnosing whats causing your blood sugar to spike.
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Cgms Used By The Nhs Or To Buy
The Freestyle Libre 3 is a CGM which is available on the NHS but not yet available to buy.
These are some of the other CGMs available:
Dexcom One licensed for those aged two and over
Dexcom G6 licensed for those aged two and over
Dexcom G5 licensed for those aged two and over
Glucomenday licensed for those aged six and over
Guardiam Connect no age restriction
Some CGMs work with insulin pumps – see information on these integrated systems.
Best Rechargeable Transmitter: The Guardian Connect System
- Price: $620 for the transmitter and $345 for three sensors
The Guardian Connect System is a CGM device that can send early warnings of potential high glucose levels to a person before they occur. The company reportedly works with over 600 insurance companies to help people get the system at a lower price.
The Guardian Connect System features:
- a rechargeable transmitter that does not need replacing
- a smartphone app for Android and iOS devices
- a free 30-day trial
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Who Are They Useful For
CGMs can help people with diabetes monitor and maintain their blood glucose levels. While they do not involve finger pricking, they may be useful for calibrating the device.
Earlobe, breath, and other noninvasive devices may be beneficial for monitoring blood glucose levels, especially in children with the same condition and those who have cystic fibrosis. However, they are not FDA-approved, and some may need further testing to determine their safety and accuracy.
To learn more about diabetes and how to monitor and manage the condition, visit our dedicated hub.
MNT chooses at-home tests that meet the following criteria:
- Budget: MNT chooses products that suit a wide range of budgets.
- FDA approval: MNT chooses products that have been cleared or approved by the FDA.
- Smartphone compatibility:MNT selects products that are easily connected to smart devices and provide regular readings via an app.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
Below are four blood sugar monitors that do not require finger pricks.
Tips To Make Glucose Monitoring Easier
Whether youre using a traditional finger-prick monitor or a CGM for your diabetes management, here are some tips to make checking your glucose easier:
- Always wash your hands with soap and water before checking your glucose for a more accurate result. Do not use hand sanitizer before doing finger sticks.
- If inserting a sensor into your skin for a CGM, be sure to wash the area of skin with soap and water and allow it to dry first.
- Change any sensors by the recommended manufacturer time for example, every 14 days for the FreeStyle Libre and every 10 days for the Dexcom G6.
- If using finger strips, you may experience less pain by using the side of your fingertip closer to your fingernail.
- Even if youre using a CGM, you may consider having a traditional meter on hand to double-check your glucose readings. This is in case you experience symptoms of high or low blood sugar despite a normal reading.
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Best For: Adaptive Technology
As stated above, this CGM can communicate with a Medtronic insulin pump, which is always useful. But the Guardian Connect mobile app also uses SugarIQ, which can tell you about trends in your blood glucose levels using IBM Watson AI. The longer you use it, the more data it has and the more accurate its reports will be for you.
Do I Need To Figure Out How To Use A Cgm Device On My Own
It takes time and patience to understand how a CGM device works. But you dont have to do it alone. Your provider will need to prescribe a CGM device .
Once you have a CGM, a qualified professional helps you learn how to use it safely. Your provider may recommend taking a diabetes education class or speaking one-on-one with a certified diabetes educator .
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How Does A Flash Glucose Monitor And Cgm Work
Flash glucose monitors and continuous glucose monitors let you check your blood sugar levels without you having to prick your fingers.
You wear a small sensor on your body day and night that reads your blood sugar levels so you can see the information on your mobile, or other device. If someone helps you look after your diabetes, their mobile can be linked up too.
With a CGM and the latest flash glucose monitor , you can also set an alarm to sound if your blood sugar levels go too low or too high.
This can also be set up to sound on someone elses mobile, for example, a parent or carers.
One of the other main benefits of a flash glucose monitor and CGM is being able to review what your blood sugar levels do every minute of the day and night. With the charts and graphs, you can start to see and understand how food, activity, and other things affect your blood sugar levels.
“It’s a real mental health break knowing what your blood sugar levels are doing at any one time.” Matt
Why You Still Need Some Finger Prick Checks
You may need to do a finger prick check, for example, if what youre feeling doesnt match what your blood sugar reading says. Or if youre treating a hypo, you may want to do one to get the most accurate result.
With some CGMs, you may also need the result of a finger prick check every day to reset your device.
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Best Continuous Glucose Monitors For 2022
If you’re considering switching to a continuous glucose monitor, try one of these.
Mercey Livingston is a health and wellness writer and certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She’s written about fitness and wellness for Well+Good, Women’s Health, Business Insider, and Prevention.com among others. When not writing, she enjoys reading and trying out workout classes all over New York City.
If you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, keeping your blood sugar in check is a huge priority. No one loves sticking their fingers all day, fumbling with a test strip or using traditional blood glucose monitors — that’s why a continuous glucose monitoring system, also known as CGM, can be more convenient than other monitoring devices. Continuous blood sugar meters are worn for long periods of time on your body and offer you continuous monitoring, without your having to stop and prick your finger to get glucose readings.
“Continuous glucose monitors offer more intensive monitoring of a diabetic patient’s sugar levels,” said Dr. Rebecca Fenichel, an endocrinologist at Westmed Medical Group. “They are particularly well suited to patients who have to check multiple times a day, or to patients who want to get more frequent feedback during the day.”
For this article, we’ve consulted doctors, including Fenichel, and researched the most popular monitors to curate the best continuous glucose monitors on the market for 2022.
Pros And Cons Of Using A Flash Glucose Monitor Or Cgm
Diabetes technology is a wonderful thing, but it certainly isnt for everyone.
Some people feel uneasy about getting lots of data, and for some people it gives them more confidence. Weve got more information to help you work through these different feelings about using diabetes tech. And you can always call our helpline to ask questions or just to talk it through.
Advantages of Flash and CGM
Disadvantages of Flash and CGM
You dont need to do so many finger-prick checks and you can set alarms if your blood sugar goes too low or too high .
Its not always as accurate as doing a finger prick check and it can take a while to get used to using the technology
You can see trends, like when your sugar levels are starting to rise or drop, so you can take action earlier.
You can get overloaded with data, which can confuse or worry some people.
You can get your sugar levels in your target range more often as you have more information about when youre high and low.
You may find wearing the sensor irritating, you might not like the look of it, or showing people that you have diabetes.
You can see what your levels are like at times when you dont normally test, like during the night .
Your glucose levels can be shared with your diabetes team, so they can review and adjust your diabetes management. It also means that the information can be shared easily during virtual appointments.
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What Are The Advantages Of Using Cgm To Manage Diabetes
Using a CGM device can make it easier to manage Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Some people use CGM for a week to understand their blood sugar patterns. Most use CGM long-term.
A CGM device can:
- Show you a bigger picture of how diabetes affects you: CGM measures glucose levels every few minutes. That data shows a more complete picture of how your blood sugar levels change over time. This information can help you and your provider better understand how things like food, activity, stress and illness impact your blood sugar levels.
- Lead to more personalized care: CGM doesnt give the whole story of all the ways diabetes affects you. It tells you when glucose goes up or down, not why. But your provider can download CGM data from your device and review it for patterns and trends. They can then personalize your care based on what they learn.
- Alert you to highs and lows: Most CGM devices send an alert when your glucose levels rise or fall a certain amount. With this information, you can make changes quickly. You may be able to treat or prevent highs or lows before they turn into a big problem.
- Reduce how many fingerstick checks you need to do: CGM significantly reduces how many fingerstick tests youll need to do each day.