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Glucose Monitoring

Your Guide to Glucose Monitoring

If you live with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you know the importance of managing it properly by checking your blood glucose levels and keeping them in the range they are supposed to be in. This is often done through a blood glucose monitoring device. There are many device options out there to suit a variety of lifestyles and needs. To start, check out our guide to glucose monitoring and what device may be right for you.

Interested to see if you qualify for Abbott's FreeStyle Libre 2 system through your insurance? Click here for more information, otherwise you can give us a call at 1-800-698-8113 ext. 556 or email [email protected]!

Why Is It Important to Check Blood Glucose Levels?

Checking blood glucose levels (sugar) is critical to diabetes management and helps you keep glucose levels stable, reducing episodes of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), as well as decreasing the risk of complications from diabetes.

How Do You Check Blood Glucose Levels?

The most common way to check blood glucose levels is by using a blood glucose monitor. A blood glucose monitor measures the amount of glucose in a drop of blood, usually done by pricking your finger. This process is also known as a “fingerstick”. Fingersticks may need to be done several times a day as the results show whether blood glucose is in range at the time performed. The glucose data is often used to help you or a loved one make decisions about your diet, activity, insulin and other medications.

What Is Blood Glucose Monitoring (BGM)? ?

Most people are familiar with traditional glucometers, which require a drop of blood from under the skin or from a fingerstick. These devices measure blood glucose levels in a single moment in time and require a fingerstick using a test strip and device to understand glucose information and management. Glucose meters can be uploaded to a computer to generate reports. For more detailed insights, more fingersticks are required throughout the day and night.

Benefits of Blood Glucose Monitoring Systems:

  • Familiar and simple to use
  • Glucose meters and strips are inexpensive
  • Usually covered by insurance

     

What Is Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM)?

CGM provides a new way to monitor and manage glucose. A continuous glucose monitoring system is a device that allows for constant monitoring of blood glucose (sugar) levels. These devices continuously measure glucose during the day and night, and they do so via the self-insertion of a tiny sensor that you wear for up to 14 days. CGM devices come with an easy-to-use inserter, and the sensors have a built-in adhesive to help it stick to your skin. Some devices last longer but require the sensor to be placed under the skin by a trained professional.

CGMs require little to no fingersticks but do require you to have a receiver/reader or smartphone nearby. CGMs provide detailed insights on glucose trends for better day-to-day decisions. They can automatically collect and share glucose data with a person of your choice and can predict dangerous highs and lows before they happen, as well as help you stay on target.

Benefits of Continuous Glucose Monitoring Systems:

  • Fewer finger pricks with CGM
  • Easy, at-a-glance way to access blood glucose levels 24 hours a day
  • CGM gives you more of the story, showing current directions, predictive directions and trends over time
  • Automatically collect and share glucose data

The components of the CGM system work seamlessly to provide the information you need to stay on top of your health and manage your diabetes. CGM systems include a sensor, transmitter, and receiver that work together to capture glucose data. Other systems may require a reader you can use to scan the sensor so no data is lost, but a smartphone app can be used to scan the sensor to eliminate the need to carry an additional device.

Who Might Benefit from a Continuous Glucose Monitoring System (CGM)?

If any of the following statements apply to you or a loved one, you may benefit from a CGM system:

  • People with type 1 diabetes taking insulin via injections or pumps
  • People with type 2 diabetes taking insulin via injections or pumps and/or have frequent episodes of hypoglycemia
  • People who have trouble recognizing symptoms of hypoglycemia
  • People who have broad glucose fluctuations
  • People who would like to have more information about their blood glucose or want to improve their daily glucose numbers

How Can You Benefit from a CGM System?

A CGM system can help you understand glucose trends so you can better manage eating, exercising and medication(s). These devices can provide more comfort at night as well as help users understand the importance of taking medication and timing it properly.

CGM Device Options

FreeStyle Libre 2: The FreeStyle Libre 2 is an accessible and affordable CGM device with more features and excellent accuracy at a significantly lower cost. This CGM system is available for adults and children with diabetes, ages four and above. It is compatible with a smartphone or reader and provides you with real-time, customizable alarms that alert you if you have a low glucose reading, high glucose reading or a loss of signal between sensor and app or reader.

Features and Benefits of the FreeStyle Libre 2:

  • Check your glucose with a painless scan instead of fingersticks
  • Significantly reduce your A1c with a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system for adults and children ages 4 and above with diabetes
  • Get the FreeStyle Libre 2 app to track your glucose anytime, anywhere
  • More affordable than other CGM systems
  • Comfortable to wear and less bulky than other CGM sensors

Tips and Tricks for CGM Use and Success

Below, we have compiled some tips and tricks to help you effectively and accurately use your CGM device. If you have questions about your device, or need help, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

  1. Start Your Sensor as Soon as You Start Your Day – Once it’s time to change your sensor, it’s important to start the CGM as early in the day as possible. This gives you time to calibrate the system and ensure the device is working properly throughout the day. You may receive more calibration requests on the first device of the new device, so calibrating it sooner may help minimize the number of requests you receive while you’re sleeping.
  2. Calibrate Before Meals and at Bedtime – It’s recommended that you calibrate the system 3-4 times per day, with a minimum of at least twice a day. These calibrations ensure your sensor is working well and providing you with accurate data. Most importantly, when calibrating, your blood sugar should be stable. This often occurs before meals and exercise. Try not to calibrate a CGM when glucose is low or rapidly changing as these times can provide inaccuracy.
  3. Customize Alerts and Alarms – Set your alerts and alarms to suit your preferences and avoid frustration with receiving too many notifications. For example, if you want to receive more alerts at night in case your blood sugar gets really low, you can adjust that! You can set different high and low glucose alert limits based on various times of the day. Another option that is available is silencing alarms if they become annoying. You can set them at conservative thresholds depending on your preferences.
  4. Use Extra Tape If Necessary – If the sensor adhesive peels off your body, try using extra tape to secure it. If you are quite active or in a warmer climate, the adhesive may not be as strong as you need it to be. In these instances, you can try using pre-cut pieces of tape, a different type of tape or you can consult with your doctor about the best option for your needs. Adjusting the location of the sensor may help.
  5. Double Check Your Smartphone App – Ensure that your reader or smartphone app is displaying your glucose readings properly. If you are not seeing your readings, make sure you have your Bluetooth enabled on your phone and connected to your CGM system, and that the CGM display app is open. The app should be running in the background at all times. If you’re not receiving a reading, it’s possible that your smartphone is too far away from your transmitter, or something is interfering with the signal between the smartphone and transmitter. You can also try reconnecting your Bluetooth, restarting your phone, closing all the other background apps and making sure your phone is charged (some phones will turn off Bluetooth to conserve battery life or will enter low power mode).