Continuous glucose monitoring is a new technology in diabetes management that helps people with diabetes determine their glucose levels on a continuous basis. A small, disposable sensor goes underneath the skin which measures glucose levels in a person’s “interstitial fluid” – the tissue fluid that surrounds cells – every five minutes. The reading is then displayed on an electronic sensor resembling a pager that a person with diabetes wears.
Continuous glucose monitoring can give you a more complete picture of your blood glucose levels by helping you monitor them between traditional meter tests, leading to better diabetes management. It can be used by those with type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
So how do you know if continuous glucose monitoring is right for you? Weigh these pros and con:
- Ease of checking blood glucose levels throughout the day and preventing highs and lows, without fingersticking.
- Tighter control over your blood glucose levels, since most CGMs come with alarms that sound if you’re getting close to a preset high or low.
- Ability to identify trends in levels over the long-term which normally go undetected, such as changes in levels while sleeping, between meals and activity, etc.
- CGM sensors are costly, and require replacement every 3-7 days. This can be a serious disadvantage if your health insurance carrier does not cover continuous glucose monitors and sensors.
- Continuous glucose monitoring is not a replacement for fingersticks, and checking blood glucose levels 2-4 a day is still required to calibrate CGM measures.
- CGM measures sometimes lag behind actual glucose measures, often by a difference of 5-10 minutes.
- Possible side effects include skin infections.
Continuous glucose monitoring has many advantages and disadvantages. Continuous glucose monitoring is ideal for fine tuning therapy and behavioral changes for better diabetes management outcomes. It’s important to talk with your physician to determine if this type of diabetes care is right for you.
Fauquier Health offers continuous glucose monitoring as part of their Diabetes Services. The new diabetes technology offering includes a 24-hour profile of blood sugar fluctuations for 3 days. It is covered by some insurances with a doctor’s referral & preauthorization.
If you’re interested in learning more about Fauquier Health’s diabetes treatment options, visit our Diabetes Services page or call us at (540) 316-2652.