Patients with diabetes are often asked to monitor their sugars regularly as many factors can affect blood sugar control including food intake, medications, stress, and physical activity. Close monitoring of sugars can be important in both assessing diabetes control as well as detecting dangerous medical situations such as hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.
For many patients, a glucometer (blood glucose meter) is used to quickly and accurately measure blood sugar. However, using a glucometer can be burdensome and painful, as this requires performing a new fingerstick with each blood sugar measurement.
For some patients, a Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) system can be extremely helpful and convenient to closely track their sugars in real-time, without the need to perform a fingerstick each time a blood sugar is needed. Blood sugars are checked every 5-15 minutes and can also be used to help monitor sugars overnight.
While CGM systems have been around for several years, the newest versions have greatly improved in accuracy and features. There are 3 common CGM systems currently on the market in the US: the Dexcom G6, the Freestyle Libre system from Abbott, and the Medtronic’s Guardian Sensor 3.
The Dexcom G6 is the current CGM system from Dexcom. The sensor is applied to the skin every 10 days with an easy-to-use automatic applicator. The sensor checks your sugars regularly and wirelessly “pushes” the glucose reading to a receiver. You can also receive the glucose readings on your smartphone or even your Apple Watch.
The Dexcom G6 system can be set-up to provide you with alerts if your sugars are too low or high, or if your sugars are rapidly climbing or falling. The Dexcom G6 is factory-calibrated and therefore no manual blood glucose checks are needed during the day to calibrate the sensor. Furthermore, the glucose readings from the Dexcom are FDA-permitted to be used for diabetes treatment decisions without a confirmatory fingerstick.
The Dexcom G6 is FDA-approved for ages 2 and up.
The Freestyle Libre 2 is the latest “flash” CGM system from Abbott that displays blood sugars when the reader is placed next to the sensor. An Apple or Android smartphone can be used to “read” the sensor (Note: the app for the Libre 2 is still under FDA review) . The sensor measures the sugars every few minutes and records the sugars for 8 hours at a time. The sensor lasts for 14 days and is easily inserted with an applicator.
In contrast to earlier generations of the Libre, the Libre 2 now includes optional real-time glucose alarms that notify you if you go too low or high.
The Freestyle Libre 2 is FDA-approved for ages 4 and up.
The Guardian 3 is the current CGM system from Medtronic. The Guardian 3 sensor last for 7 days. The Guardian 3 CGM will “push” the blood sugars readings to either a smartphone or an integrated Medtronic insulin pump. Like the Dexcom G6 and the Libre 2, the Guardian 3 will alert the user with high or low sugars. The Guardian 3 needs to be calibrated twice daily with a manual blood glucose check.
The Guardian 3 can be used as a stand-alone device and the blood glucose readings will be displayed on your smartphone or can be integrated with the Medtronic 630G, 670G and 770G insulin pump systems.
The Medtronic Guardian 3 is FDA-approved for ages 3 and up.
Interested in learning more about CGM options for your Diabetes?
Dr. Ari Geliebter (adult endocrinology) and Dr. Rebecca Geliebter (pediatric endocrinology) offer truly comprehensive Endocrinology care for all ages. We are located in the heart of Bergen County, NJ in Maywood, NJ.
Call our office at 201-903-0070 or click here to request an adult endocrinology appointment with Dr. Ari Geliebter or click here to make a pediatric endocrinology appointment with Dr. Rebecca Geliebter.