A Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) or Freestyle Libre Flash Monitor can be a wonderful device to add to your diabetes tool kit. It is important that you work with your healthcare team to decide if either a system is right for you. Once you decide that you need to have one, here are a few things to think about when considering using a Continuous Glucose Monitor or Libre Flash Monitor.
What is a Continuous Glucose Monitor?
A Continuous Glucose Monitor is a small device worn under the skin that uses interstitial fluid to monitor blood glucose levels. It then transmits readings to a receiver and allows a person with diabetes to have a guide to what blood glucose levels may be at a given time and whether they are expected to rise or fall in the near future.
See a complete list of CGMs available in North America here.
Is a Continuous Glucose Monitor the same as a Flash Monitor?
No, a continuous glucose monitor is constantly transmitting blood glucose levels to a transmitter. A Flash monitor, however, provides snapshots of blood glucose levels. You scan the sensor and it will give you your reading at that time as well as show your historical trends.
Do I have to wear an insulin pump to use a CGM or Flash Meter?
No. The Libre© Flash meter, Dexcom©, Guardian™ Connect CGM and Eversense© CGM are considered stand-alone devices. The Dexcom© will work with some insulin pumps but all of these systems can also be used by people using multiple daily injections.
Which CGM talks to my insulin pump?
The Dexcom© and the Guardian© systems both work with an insulin pump, transmitting data directly to specific insulin pumps.
Should I get a Continuous Glucose or Flash Monitoring system?
There are many reasons to get a CGM or flash monitor as well as a few reasons why they may not be a fit for you.
The upside to using a continuous glucose monitoring system include:
- These systems provide you with a lot of information to make treatment decisions. It shows how your readings have been as well as where they are at any given moment.
- It provides peace of mind with trending graphs and predictive algorithms that can tell you if your blood glucose levels are rising or falling to dangerous levels.
- Blood glucose readings at a glance without needing to lance your finger.
- Historical trends make it easier to make adjustments basal patterns and bolus ratios
There are some also some downsides to having a CGM:
- If you don’t have insurance coverage, these systems are expensive and can be cost-prohibitive
- It is another piece of equipment to wear on your body. For small children, with very limited body mass, it can be difficult to place both an infusion set and a CGM on their young bodies.
- While these systems are becoming much more accurate, you cannot always completely rely on them and fingersticks are still relied upon when there is any question of accuracy.
- CGMs alert you to rising and falling bg levels. These alerts can be bothersome at times.
- Sometimes all of this data can be a bad thing. You can become obsessed with the numbers and experience information overload.
- Some people experiencing skin reactions to the adhesive.
- The insertion of CGM sensors can be painful for some.
Ultimately when considering using a Continuous Glucose Monitor or Libre Flash Monitor, the decision is up to the individual. It is simply another diabetes management tool that can be used to help tighten blood glucose control.
Visit our CGM page to compare all four products or download our free comparison of key features.