Glucose: Continuous Glucose Monitoring

CGM (continuous glucose monitoring) devices will track the body’s changes in glucose levels and send information to a monitor called a pager-sized unit. Insurers may or may not bear the cost of the equipment.


What is Glucose Continuous Monitoring (GCM)?

Continuous glucose monitoring is a way to automatically assess information about the changing blood glucose level of a diabetic patient at any time – day or night.


How do devices like continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) function?

Small glucose sensors are injected just under the skin, usually into the abdominal wall or arm) with currently used CGM devices. The insertion is quick and is not painful, just like a shot. With adhesive tape, the sensor is held in place. The sensor monitors changes in glucose levels in the fluid (interstitial fluid) of the body around the sensor and supplies the data to a monitor, a pager-sized unit connected to the belt or waistline of your pants. Automatically, the CGM system monitors glucose levels continuously around the clock, showing the results every few minutes on a monitor. According to the recommendations of each system manufacturer, each sensor has to be modified every few days.


What are the benefits of using a system that tracks continuous glucose (CGM)?

The most significant benefit of CGM devices is that they provide information about what is happening to your blood sugar level every few minutes. Newer devices display glucose status on a screen so that you can see if glucose levels are rising or dropping in real-time. Some tools also warn you to let you know when high or low levels of your glucose are reached. Some devices can view graphs that show glucose levels collected on their display screen over a certain number of hours. For graphing and more meaningful trend analysis, the data obtained on all devices can be uploaded to a computer.


What’s the safest way to use sensors for continuous glucose monitoring (CGM)?

CGM devices can give the knowledge that can be used instantly, over the short term, or over a more extended period of time.


How to quickly use the data

Every few minutes, the system reports the blood glucose levels to control not just where the blood glucose level is but also its direction. In other words, depending on the pattern, whether the glucose is rising or dropping, you may decide to react to the same number differently. Seeing trends in your glucose levels can allow you to take preventive measures before it becomes more challenging to deal with glucose levels.


How to use the data in the short term

The device will help you determine when and probably what caused an episode of an “intermediate” condition, such as hypoglycemia. Data analysis can help you assess how well you have reacted to the issue and can give you insights on avoiding the problem from happening again.


How to use the information for the long term

The system can help evaluate blood glucose data overnight or over several days. You may view patterns itself,  the CGM system being used,.

You may start asking yourself why specific periods or some days look different from others. Questions have begun to appear. What’s usually going on after meals? Does this impact the type of food ingested, the time of day, and the timing of the dose of insulin? When can hypoglycemia occur? What effect on glucose levels does exercise, education, job, or eating out have? For your next appointment, you and your diabetes care provider can discuss the patterns observed with CGM device tracking info, plus comprehensive written reports of your daily activities, together. Together you can assess what improvements you will need to make to maintain the target range of blood glucose levels and what changes you can make to improve diabetes treatment.


A final word on the systems for continuous glucose monitoring (CGM)

These devices deliver great benefits in terms of blood sugar level monitoring. Instead of individual glucose numbers, these sensors help you keep a closer eye on glucose patterns to avoid or catch problems early on.


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