Avoiding extreme highs and lows in glucose levels is crucial to controlling diabetes and reducing the risk of long-term diabetes complications. Continuous Glucose Monitoring is one way of helping gain more control through greater insight as to your blood glucose highs and lows.
Put simply, a sensor placed just under the skin reads your body tissue fluid’s glucose level and sends the result to a receiver. The frequent results show a graph from which you can see trends – you might see your glucose levels slowly decreasing if you check the screen while you go out for a long walk.
CGM systems can also be used by those on MDI (multiple daily injections) – you do not need to be on a pump, but some pumps are now CGM-enabled systems. In the UK these are the Animas Vibe (using Dexcom’s sensors) and the Medtronic Veo (using Medtronic Enlite sensors). These systems provide patients with a more complete glucose picture (compared to normal blood tests alone). The pumps can including customizable high and low alerts and rate-of-change alarms and trends based on CGM results being received. These features allow patients to make more informed decisions to help with their control.
Clinical studies have shown that adults aged 25 and older with type 1 diabetes who use CGM therapy to help manage their disease often experience significant improvements in glucose control. Patients who use insulin pump therapy in combination with CGM obtain lower HbA1c levels relative to patients who use multiple daily injections and self-monitoring of blood glucose.