How To Test Your Blood Sugar
Whether you test several times a day or only once, following a testing routine will help you prevent infection, return true results, and better monitor your blood sugar. Heres a step-by-step routine you can follow:
Options With Advanced Features
Some glucose meters have advanced features that may make it easier for you to keep track of your blood sugar levels. You can find models that read your blood sugar readings aloud or that give off an audible tone or chime when blood sugar levels are above or below normal levels. To simplify tracking your numbers, some meters store your last reading or have built-in memory to store days’or months’ worth of readings. You can also find Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled glucometers that transmit data to your smartphone, tablet or computer so that you can review it later and share it with your doctor.
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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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
When visiting your doctor, you might keep these questions in mind to ask during your appointment.
- What is my target blood sugar range?
- How often should I check my blood sugar?
- What do these numbers mean?
- Are there patterns that show I need to change my diabetes treatment?
- What changes need to be made to my diabetes care plan?
If you have other questions about your numbers or your ability to manage your diabetes, make sure to work closely with your doctor or health care team.
How Much Does A Continuous Glucose Monitor Cost
The price of continuous glucose monitoring varies depending on the brand you get and the features included. Some products are made to use with a dedicated reader, while some can be used in conjunction with a smart device. There are various alerts and other options that can be set as well. Like everything else in the technology space, extra bells and whistles are always available.
If you use insulin and require frequent adjustments to your insulin dosage, private insurance or Medicare may cover the cost of a CGM system. There are different levels of coverage available, depending on your insurance plan, and in addition to a prescription, your plan may require prior authorization.
Aeroflow is here to help when it comes to navigating your plan requirements and well even coordinate with your healthcare provider to make sure your device is covered if youre eligible. Currently we offer both the FreeStyle Libre products by Abbott Laboratories and the Dexcom G6.
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Getting The Freestyle Libre App On Your Mobile Phone
To scan your Freestyle Libre 1 or Freestyle Libre 2 sensors from a smart mobile phone, download the the Freestyle LibreLink app from the app store on your phone.
Sharing data with friends and family
You can also share the data from your Freestyle Libre with friends, family or carers via the Libre Linkup app. They will need to download the LibreLinkUp app and create an account. You can then give them access to your data using your own LibreLink app and their email address
If its your first time opening the app, then you may need to set up an account. Once youve done that, hold your phone or device up to the sensor and you should feel it buzz twice. The sensor has been scanned and the app requires 60 minutes to calibrate so youll need to wait that long and then you can use it.
Continuous Glucose Monitors Can Help You Achieve Your Target Blood Glucose Control
- The Alarms for high and low blood sugars and trend alarms allow earlier intervention and help you prevent more severe highs and lows.
- The 24 hour trend data helps fine tune diabetes or insulin dosing algorithms
- Use of these devices improves blood glucose control because you can minimize the time spent with high or low blood sugars
- The glucose level obtained with CGM may lag behind a blood glucose level by 5 to 25 minutes. The levels may not be the same as those obtained with a blood glucose meter.
- CGM still have to be calibrated or reconciled with blood glucose readings obtained with a blood glucose meter. So you still have to do fingerstick glucose monitoring
- And most important, before you even consider any treatment changes, you will need to do traditional blood glucose testing to verify a glucose level determined by a CGMS device. The continuous glucose monitor results have to be verified before you change your therapy.
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Medicare Expands Coverage Of Diabetes Devices
Recent expansion of Medicare coverage for diabetes devices means millions of diabetes patients may have greater access to more affordable means of managing the disease.
Medicare will now cover a continuous glucose monitor that doesnt require diabetes patients to prick their fingers. And the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services also will now cover more innovative insulin pumps for diabetes patients.
New Coverage for Glucose Monitoring
Abbott Laboratories FreeStyle Libre System, which allows continuous blood sugar level monitoring without having to draw blood through a finger prick, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in September, but its usage has been somewhat limited as it awaited approval by insurance companies and the CMS. The decision in January by the CMS, which oversees the federal health programs of Medicare and Medicaid, expands the coverage to millions of diabetes patients.
The FreeStyle Libre Flash is the second continuous glucose monitoring system after DexCom Incs G5 Mobile that the federal agency has covered.
New Coverage Possible for Some Insulin-Delivery Devices
Modern Healthcare reported on the under-the-radar notice issued in early January by the CMS that Part D sponsors can now cover new products that deliver insulin through the skin directly, rather than through a catheter placed under the skin.
CMS is not requiring Part D sponsors to include them in their formularies, however.
Covered Doesnt Mean Free
Manage Your Costs
How We Chose Glucose Monitors And Meters
Above all, we included glucose monitors that are reportedly the most accurate. Since home meters are designed to help you monitor your glucose in between laboratory work from your doctors visits, its important that your device provides the most accurate results possible.
While no home test will be as accurate as a lab version, getting as close as possible to the quality of such tests can help provide peace of mind as well as better diabetes management.
Other items we looked at include:
We included glucose meters across a variety of features and price points. The cost of CGMs and blood glucose meters can vary widely based on their features, your insurance coverage, and location. Cost is also subject to change over time based on the type of insurance you have, so be sure to check with your carrier for the most accurate price.
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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
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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The Dexcom App Has Some Cool New Features
If you had a G5, youâll have to download the new G6 app. It looks pretty much the same. The numbers are a little smaller. At first, I found it harder to read than the old app.
This version has a new feature called Urgent Low Soon that warns users in advance of a dangerous low . I appreciated this feature a lot because some lows arenât as urgent as others.
It also features an alert schedule that allows you to customize alerts and alarms for different times of the day. These alerts notify you when you are heading high or low.
You can still share your data with 5 other people, which is a must-have feature for parents of children with Type 1. The app is available on iOS and most Android devices.
If you donât use the app, the G6 comes with a new receiver. Since I use my phone to monitor the sensor, I didnât even take the receiver out of the box.
Fda Approves First Blood Sugar Monitor Without Finger Prick
U.S. regulators have approved the first continuous blood sugar monitor for diabetics that doesn’t need backup finger prick tests.
Current models require users to test a drop of blood twice daily to calibrate, or adjust, the monitor.
The pain of finger sticks and the cost of testing supplies discourage many people from keeping close tabs on their blood sugar, which is needed to manage insulin use and adjust what they eat.
Abbott’s new FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System, approved Wednesday by the Food and Drug Administration, uses a small sensor attached to the upper arm. Patients wave a reader device over it to see the current blood sugar level and changes over the past eight hours.
Most of the 30 million Americans with diabetes use standard glucose meters, which require multiple finger pricks each day and only show current sugar level. More-accurate continuous glucose monitoring devices are used by about 345,000 Americans.
But most don’t do the finger pricks to calibrate them and may get inaccurate readings, said Dr. Timothy Bailey, who helped test FreeStyle Libre.
“We’re able to lower blood sugar safely” with this technology, said Bailey, director of the Advanced Metabolic Care and Research Institute in California. He receives consulting fees from various diabetes device makers.
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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 (the Freestyle Libre2, The newest model has alarms for predicted high or low blood sugar levels. But when the alarm does sound you still have you scan your arm to check your blood sugar level.
Both a CGM And a flash glucose monitor are offered on the NHS to people who qualify and are also available to buy.
Driving And Checking Your Blood Sugars Using A Cgm Or Flash
You can use a flash glucose monitor or CGM to check your sugar levels when driving, but you must confirm your levels with a finger-prick test if:
- your blood sugar level is 4 mmol/l or below
- you have symptoms of a hypo
- your monitor gives a reading thats not consistent with the symptoms youre getting for example, if you feel like youre having a hypo but the reading doesnt show this.
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Using A Wireless Device
Another way that you can measure your blood sugar level without having to prick your finger is a wireless device that is worn around the wrist. This device uses an optical sensor to measure your blood glucose level by using flashes of light. The information is then wirelessly transmitted to a phone or computer. This device can also be used to track your blood sugar levels over long periods of time, and gives you an indication of whether your level is too high or too low at any given time.
It is also possible to have a blood sample taken and then sent off to a lab for analysis. However, this method can be inconvenient since the wait time can be anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
We explored the different ways you can measure your blood sugar without having to prick your fingers. From using a glucometer that uses lasers or LEDs instead of needles and test strips to wearing digital devices like watches with built-in sensors on our wrists, there is now more than one way for people who have diabetes to get an accurate reading of their glucose levels.
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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What Is The Future Of Blood Sugar Testing
Even though you can monitor blood sugar level with glucometers and CGMs, the future might provide additional ways to manage your diabetes.
- Multiple waves:Researchers have been studying and experimenting with new technologies. For example, some adults with type 2 diabetes in Europe have access to a device that can measure blood sugar using ultrasonic, electromagnet, and thermal waves.
- Radio waves: Other advances on the horizon involve using radio waves to measure blood sugar .
- Tears: Additionally, some researchers are working on a sensor to monitor blood sugar under the lower eyelid . It works by measuring the sugar level of tear fluid.
- Contacts and lasers: Other future technologies might possibly include using a smart contact lens to measure blood sugar, as well as laser technology.
Freestyle Libre Flash Benefits
These benefits make FreeStyle Libre Flash a very innovative & informative flash continuous glucose monitor. The main difference between the FCGM and CGM is that the FreeStyle Libre Flash being an FCGM, records the data every minute of your blood sugar, making it a behavioural change device.
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