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 sugars.
For many patients, a glucometer (blood glucose meter) is used to accurately and quickly measure blood sugar. However, using a glucometer can be burdensome and painful, as this requires performing a 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 CGM systems currently on the market in the US, each with unique features that our Doctors can use to determine one is best for you.
The Dexcom G6 is the latest CGM system from Dexcom. The sensor is inserted in 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 of falling. The Dexcom G6 is factory-calibrated and therefore no manual blood glucose checks are needed during the day to calibrate the sensor.
The Dexcom G6 is FDA-approved for ages 2 and up.
The Freestyle Libre is a “flash CGM” system that displays blood sugars when the reader is placed next to the sensor. An Apple or Android smartphone can also be used to “read” the sensor. 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.
While the Freestyle Libre does not provide proactive alerts for abnormal sugars or sugar trends, the system is very easy to use and often the cheapest CGM option.
The Freestyle Libre is FDA-approved for ages 18 and up.
The Guardian 3 is the latest CGM system from Medtronic. The Guardian 3 sensor is inserted in the skin every 7 days. The Guardian 3 CGM will “push” the blood sugars readings to either a smartphone or an integrated insulin pump. Like the Dexcom G6, the Guardian 3 will alert the user with high or low sugars, or if your sugars are rapidly changing. 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 and 670G 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?