Without diabetes, your body tracks glucose levels all day and night to ensure the right amount of insulin is released at the right time. To successfully manage diabetes, a monitoring system is needed to consistently check your glucose levels.
The most common glucose monitoring solutions are blood glucose meters and continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems.
How Does CGM Work?
CGM is a way to measure glucose levels in real-time throughout the day and night. A tiny electrode called a glucose sensor is inserted under the skin to measure glucose levels in tissue fluid. It is connected to a transmitter that sends the information via wireless radio frequency to a monitoring and display device. The device can detect and notify you if your glucose is reach a high or low limit. The latest Medtronic CGM systems can actually alert you before you reach your glucose limits.
Does CGM Replace Fingersticks?
It is recommended that you calibrate CGM systems with fingersticks 3–4 times per day for optimal glucose sensor accuracy. CGM does require at least 1 fingerstick blood glucose reading every 12 hours to calibrate the CGM sensor1.
CGM systems usually consist of a glucose sensor, a transmitter, and a small external monitor (which may be built-in to an insulin pump or a stand-alone device) to view your glucose levels.
- The CGM monitor or insulin pump is small, discreet, and easy-to-wear. It can be attached to your belt, hidden in your pocket, or placed under your clothing. This component will show your current glucose levels and your historical glucose trends. It also notifies you before you reach your low or high glucose limits and if your glucose level rises or falls too quickly.
- The CGM transmitter is a small, lightweight device that attaches to the glucose sensor, gathers your glucose data, and sends it wirelessly to the glucose monitor unit. The Medtronic transmitter is waterproof and can be worn while swimming, bathing, or showering without worries.
- The glucose sensor is inserted under the skin to check glucose levels in tissue fluid. The glucose sensor has a small adhesive (sticky) patch to hold it in place for a few days and then it must be replaced with a new sensor. The glucose sensor is inserted with a needle, which is removed after the glucose sensor is in place. The most common place to wear a glucose sensor is in the abdomen.
- The glucose sensor is easily inserted under the skin using an insertion device. A sensor is placed into the insertion device, and with a push of a button the glucose sensor is inserted quickly and easily.
Discover the Benefits of CGM
A blood glucose meter only provides a brief “snapshot” of your glucose level at a single moment in time. A CGM device, though, gives you a greater view of your glucose trends. CGM provides you with:
- The direction your glucose levels are going
- Early notification of oncoming lows and highs
- Alerts for lows or highs while you are sleeping or anytime
- Insights into how food, physical activity, medication, and illness impact your diabetes
CGM can provide valuable information at crucial points during the day, including before and during exercise, prior to driving, before test/exam-taking, and in the middle of the night. It is still required to check blood glucose levels with a fingerstick before therapy adjustment.
- Is Continuous Glucose Monitoring For Me?
CGM can be used by type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients who would like better glucose control to improve the health and quality of their lives.
CGM is especially beneficial for people who:
- Want to reduce their A1C targets without increasing hypoglycemic events (low blood glucose)2
- Have frequent low glucose levels or are unaware of their low blood sugars2
- Are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant2,3
- Are children and adolescents at or above their target A1C if they are willing to use the device every da