Continuous Glucose Monitoring – CGM

Continuous Glucose Monitoring device, or shortly CGM, is a compact device that monitors the blood sugar level throughout the day. It operates continuously for 24 hours a day to provide near real time data of a person’s blood sugar levels. This data can be used to make informed decisions on balancing the food intake, physical activity and medications. It has been gaining popularity in the last few years as it has proven effective in proactively managing diabetes. Some research also suggests that continuous glucose monitoring can help reduce HbA1c levels by upto 1% without causing any low events.

glucose monitoring

How does Continuous Glucose Monitoring work?

Continuous Glucose Monitoring Device consists of a tiny sensor which is inserted into the skin through a cannula, usually in the belly or the back of the arm, with an automatic applicator in a quick, painless manner. The sensor is held in place using an adhesive patch. The sensor tests the blood sugar levels in the interstitial fluid (fluid present around the cells) in regular intervals of a few minutes. This sensor has to be replaced every 5 to 10 days. The sensor sends the results of the glucose test to a monitor through a transmitter. This allows us to keep an eye on our sugar levels throughout the day without needing to prick your fingertips.

Features of Continuous Glucose Monitoring Device:

  • The Continuous Glucose Monitoring Device allows you to notice the changes in your blood sugar levels continuously. There are also options to include information such as meals, exercise, medication intake and bedtime into the monitor to increase visibility on your blood glucose level trends. You can evidently monitor how your glucose levels change with your daily activities.
  • Continuous Glucose Monitoring devices allow you to download the data onto your mobile devices, laptops and PCs to make use of the data to see the glucose trends. Some devices can connect to a smartphone via an app, making it even more desirable.
    glucose monitoring

  • These devices also come with an alarm which alerts you when your blood sugar level deviates too much from the normal range. This can help you take necessary actions to prevent any adverse complications. The alert parameters can be tweaked as per your convenience and it allows you to customize how you are notified. Some continuous glucose monitoring devices also provide an option of notifying a second person about very low or high sugar levels.
  • Continuous Glucose Monitoring devices can be paired with other diabetic devices like insulin pumps to create a closed-loop system which can increase or decrease the amount of insulin infused automatically by analysing the data on current blood sugar levels. It is known as a sensor-augmented pump.

Benefits of Continuous Glucose Monitoring:

  • Continuous Glucose Monitoring helps monitor blood glucose levels 24 hours a day. This includes monitoring even during midnight when the subject is sleeping. This is extremely important to help parents with children suffering from Type 1 diabetes. Sudden changes in blood glucose levels of children can be notified to parents through an alarm, enabling them to take necessary action.
    glucose monitoring

  • Continuous Glucose Monitoring also helps you evaluate the diet and exercise plan put in place to manage diabetes. The information on sugar levels in different time spans allows us to determine the efficiency of our diabetic plan and make necessary changes.
  • Use of continuous glucose monitoring has effectively reduced the episodes of hypoglycemia in diabetics. Due to continuous monitoring, it informs the person on whether to increase or decrease insulin dosage and if he/she should take diabetic medication.
  • These devices have reduced the usage of uncomfortable fingersticks to test glucose. While fingersticks are still used to check the effectiveness of continuous glucose monitoring devices, the number of times one uses it has decreased significantly.
  • According to a research, 60% of the glucose lows may not be revealed by a fingerstick alone. Continuous glucose monitoring identifies four times as many serious glucose incidents as SMBG (self-monitoring of blood glucose).

Who should use Continuous Glucose Monitoring Devices?

Continuous Glucose Monitoring can be used by anyone suffering from diabetes. However, it is not needed for diabetics who have their blood sugar levels under control. Continuous Glucose Monitoring devices are especially beneficial to people who:

  • Experience frequent fluctuations in blood sugar levels, high or low.
  • Are on intensive insulin therapy, tight control of blood sugar.
  • Have widely variable blood sugar levels.
  • Are suffering from Type 1 diabetics.
  • Have gestational diabetes, during pregnancy.
  • Use an insulin pump.

Continuous Glucose Monitoring is a revolutionary device that eases the management of diabetes. It is proven to increase the time a person spends with healthy blood glucose levels. 

Continuous Glucose Monitoring provides a complete picture of your diabetic trends and helps you take intelligible lifestyle decisions and control blood sugar effectively. Artificial pancreas, which are gaining popularity among diabetics, makes use of continuous glucose monitoring for its functioning. A standard Continuous Glucose Monitoring cost is around $300 for the transmitter, $600 for the receiver and $80 per sensor (life of the sensor is 10 days). Although expensive, continuous glucose monitoring devices are life-saving devices which can reduce the risk of fatal incidents occurring at unexpected times.

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