(RODNAE Productions / pexels)Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs) are a group of devices that measure your blood glucose level. These devices usually include a sensor, placed on or in your body, and a reader, which may be a handheld device or even a smartphone app.
These devices measure your blood glucose level at regular intervals, display the level on the reader, and may include extra features, like data tracking, alarms, arrows to indicate whether your blood sugar is trending up or down, and more. The utility of these devices may seem obvious, but if you’re still not sure, here are some extra reasons why you should want one.
1) DKA Prevention and a Lower A1c
Diabetic ketoacidosis is one of the best known complications of diabetes. This condition is caused by an abnormally high blood glucose level, which throws the body’s delicate pH out of balance. If left untreated, this condition can be potentially fatal. Continuous monitoring keeps users in the loop as their blood sugars rise, allowing them to administer additional insulin or seek medical help as needed.
Along similar lines, being able to manage high blood sugars regularly can lead to a lower A1c. The A1c measures average blood sugar level over approximately three months. Maintaining an A1c under 7 is one of the best ways to avoid long-term complications of diabetes mellitus. A CGM puts users back into control as they control their blood sugar, keeping them healthier and happier.
2) Hypoglycemia awareness
Just as a blood sugar that’s too high can cause potentially life-threatening complications, hypoglycemia is equally dangerous. For many people with Type 1 diabetes, hypoglycemia is the sneakier condition, as it can often come on quite suddenly. Adapting to new forms of insulin, exercise, and dietary changes can all play a role in hypoglycemic episodes.
Many CGM models include alarms when blood glucose levels fall below a certain level. This kind of alarm can be a great way to prevent users from feeling shaky, confused, and irritated—all classic symptoms of hypoglycemia. It also gives them a buffer period during which they can find a snack or other supplies, such as glucose tablets, to stave off any problems that low blood sugar may cause.
3) Fewer Needle Sticks
Unlike a regular glucometer, a CGM only needs to be placed into the skin one time. Once placed, a sensor can last up to 14 days for external sensors or 180 days for sensors like the Eversense. While most models do require calibration with a traditional glucometer, once calibrated you will rely less on finger sticks and more on the sensor in your arm to determine your blood glucose level. This makes the CGM a great option for people who find traditional glucometers painful (such as children) or find that finger sticks interfere with their sensation, dexterity, work, etc.
4) Improved Activity Levels
One of the biggest obstacles that hold people with diabetes back is fear of out-of-control blood sugars during intense activities. This can include working out in the gym, going hiking, swimming, rock climbing, or any number of other activities. Whatever the type of exercise, a CGM gives people with diabetes peace of mind, as they can track their blood sugar with precision before, during, and after their activity.
Since periods of physical exertion make it hard to manage blood sugars, the CGM can relieve a lot of stress for the physically active. Rather than trying to manually track blood sugars as they spike and drop during exercise in ways that are highly individual and sometimes difficult to predict, CGMs provide accurate readings for you all along the way.
The only challenge is that your CGM could fall off as you exert, but Skin Grip solves that problem with our adhesive patches for Dexcom G6, Freestyle Libre, and more. Our hypoallergenic, waterproof patches are placed on top of the sensor and keep them safe and secure for 10-14 days.
This kind of security keeps people with diabetes out and about, living their best lives. Skin Grip makes overlay patches and adhesive tape for the full range of diabetic sensors–including the latest iterations of Freestyle Libre and Dexcom CGMs and Omnipod and Medtronic insulin pumps.
5) Child Safety
Diabetes doesn’t care about age, and some of the most vulnerable people with diabetes are children. While they have the same potential for complications as adults with diabetes, they don’t always have the cognitive development to adequately manage their care needs. This means they rely on parents, nurses, teachers, and other adults to stay on top of their blood sugars. A CGM and reader keeps their blood glucose levels visible and easy to read to for children and their caregivers.
Some CGMs, like the Dexcom, allow authorized users to download an app which gives them access to the reader, which means parents, teachers, and nurses can also track a child’s blood glucose, reducing the risk of complications.
According to Dexcom, these devices don’t just improve a child’s health, but they improve the health of parents and caretakers, as the stress-relief enhances sleep quality and sense of well-being. Skin Grip is a huge fan of decreasing stress!
We think every person with diabetes deserves to live a life free of fear. A CGM can help you achieve that.