Continuous Glucose Monitoring: Better and Safer
It’s amazing how far we’ve come in a lifetime, from using urine to detect a person’s glucose level to employing gadgets that continuously monitor glucose levels day and night. In type 2 diabetes, continuous glucose monitors (CGM) are swiftly gaining traction. Let’s look at what a CGM is and how it differs from a blood glucose meter.
What Is Blood Glucose Monitoring?One of the most effective methods to learn about your sugar levels and how various meals, medications, and behaviors affect your diabetes is to test your blood sugar level. Regular monitoring of your blood glucose levels can assist you. Your doctor can develop a management strategy for your condition. People test their blood sugar levels with portable glucose meters known as glucometers. These analyze a small sample of blood, typically from the tip of a finger. To draw blood, a lancet gently pricks your skin. The current blood sugar level is displayed on the meters. However, because blood sugar levels fluctuate, it’s important to test and track them frequently.
What Is Continuous Glucose Monitoring?Continuous glucose monitoring is a wearable device that allows you to keep track of your blood glucose levels throughout time. Blood glucose is also known as blood sugar. Sensor, transmitter, and receiver are the three main components of a CGM. A sensor is a small wire that resides in the interstitial fluid of your body. The sensor’s job is to “detect” your glucose level, as the name implies. Once the sensor has determined your glucose level, it will need the transmitter’s assistance to convey the data to a receiver. An insulin pump, a portable device, or an Apple watch can all be used as receivers. On the other hand, a smartphone is the most often utilized receiver.
What Does CGM Measure?CGM is a diabetes management tool. When you use the device, it monitors your glucose levels 24 hours a day. Insulin is a hormone that aids in regulating blood glucose levels in the body. When you have Type 1 diabetes, your body does not create enough (or any) insulin. When you have Type 2 diabetes, your body produces insulin but doesn’t utilize it properly. To keep blood glucose levels stable, people with diabetes must inject themselves with insulin regularly.
Why Is It Important for Diabetic Patients to Measure Blood Glucose Levels?Blood glucose monitoring reveals how much and when your body needs insulin. Blood glucose levels that fluctuate a lot can harm your health in various ways. When blood sugar levels are too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia), they can be dangerous and even fatal if not handled swiftly. Blood sugar levels can be affected by various factors, including the meals you eat, the sports you participate in, and your lifestyle. However, diabetes affects people in different ways. The way food or activity impacts one person’s glucose levels is often not the same as how it affects another. Your body might be unexpected as well. Even healthcare specialists don’t always understand why your body reacts the way it does. Even if you think you’re doing everything properly, these factors might make treating diabetes difficult.
How does a Blood Glucometer Work?A single drop is all that is required for glucometers. The meters are small enough to carry in a handbag or travel with. One can be used anyplace. An instruction booklet is included with each gadget. A healthcare physician will usually go over your new glucometer with you. This could be an endocrinologist or a certified diabetic educator (CDE), who can help you design a personalized care plan, meal planning, and answer concerns about controlling your disease, among other things. These broad guidelines may or may not apply to all glucometer devices. While the fingers are the most usual location for glucometer use, some methods enable you to use your thigh, forearm, or the fleshy area of your hand. Before you use the gadget, make sure you read the manual. Hands should be washed or cleaned with an alcohol pad. This reduces the risk of infection and removes any food residue that could skew your results. Allow for full drying of the skin. A blood sample obtained from the finger can be diluted by moisture. Blowing your skin to dry can cause germs to spread. This is a quick procedure, but performing it correctly can save you from having to re-stick yourself. Activate the glucometer. A test strip is commonly used to perform this. When it’s time to put blood on the strip, the glucometer screen will alert you. Pierce the side of your finger adjacent to the fingernail with the lancing device (or another recommended location). This is less painful than lancing your finger pads. Pinch your finger until it creates a large enough drop. On the strip, place a drop of blood. To prevent bleeding, wipe your finger with the alcohol prep pad. Allow the glucometer to get a reading for a few moments. Heat your hands with flowing water or rub them vigorously together if you have problems acquiring a reliable blood sample. Before you poke yourself, make sure they’re completely dry.
How Do CGM Devices Work?You can choose from a variety of CGM devices on the market today. Each one works similarly. The look, feel, and features of a gadget are the most noticeable distinctions. Here’s how CGM works: A small sensor is placed just beneath your skin, generally on your abdomen or arm. This part is made simple and quick with the use of an applicator. The sensor is held in place by adhesive tape. The sensor measures the glucose levels in the fluid beneath your skin. Most CGM devices take measurements every five minutes throughout the day and night. Depending on the gadget, you’ll need to replace the sensor frequently. Sensors are changed every 7 to 14 days for most devices at home. Your health professional will replace the sensor in a process in their office a couple of times (or less) each year for some long-term implantable CGM systems. A transmitter is used in all CGM systems to wirelessly convey glucose data from the sensor to a device where it may be viewed. Some CGM systems have a reusable transmitter that connects to each new sensor. The transmitter is included in the disposable sensor for other CGM systems. The glucose data from the sensor is transferred to a portable device termed a receiver (similar to a cell phone), an app on your smartphone, or an insulin pump, based on the CGM system. CGM data (real-time glucose levels, trends, and history) can be downloaded to a pc at any time. Some CGM systems transmit messages continually. You can also advise your provider of the information.
What Is the Difference Between CGM and A Blood Glucometer (CGM)?The sugar level in the interstitial fluid is measured using CGMs. This is the fluid that resides between your body’s cells. A BGM, on the other hand, measures the amount of glucose in your blood. Because the figures on a CGM and a BGM detect glucose levels in two separate locations of your body, you wouldn’t expect them to match exactly. CGMs provide you with a continuous picture of your glucose level and where it’s going. Most of the time, CGMS can anticipate a low blood glucose 20-30 minutes ahead of time. BGMs are merely a snapshot in time, revealing your glucose level at your examination. Consider CGMs to be a full movie, while BGMs are just a movie scene. You can configure personalized alarms for higher or lower sugar levels on most CGMs. A continuous glucose monitor (CGM) is a device you wear on your body for an extended time (usually anywhere from 7-14 days). It can serve as a continual reminder of your diabetes if you don’t remove it (which can be positive or negative, based on your preference). A BGM, on the other hand, can be used once and then stowed away with your other diabetes supplies until needed again.
How Is CGM Better Than Blood Glucometer?While Continuous Glucose Monitors are more technologically advanced than Blood Glucose Monitors, they haven’t replaced them. There are still instances when individuals need to use a fingerstick to monitor their blood glucose levels, so they may function well together when necessary. A Blood Glucose Meter measures blood sugar at a certain point in time, which is one of the most significant variations between monitors. That’s useful, but it doesn’t tell you where your blood glucose is heading or what it’ll do next, making it tough to plan. A Continuous Glucose Monitor acts as a roadmap to what’s next and helps control what’s coming in 15 minutes. Because they provide people control and authority over the disease, Continuous Glucose Monitors have transformed the realm of diabetes management. CGMs collect data, analyze it, and forecast future patterns, giving everyone involved peace of mind. Continuous Glucose Monitors eliminate the guessing and the fear of the unknown. At Safe Hands HHC, we take pride in providing life-changing information to patients, healthcare providers, caregivers, and Diabetes Care Specialists. CGMs provide a comprehensive monitoring system that provides diabetic individuals the freedom they deserve while also making it simpler for healthcare practitioners to accomplish their jobs.
Why Should A Person Use CGM?Using a CGM device can help people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes control their condition. Some people use a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) for a week to learn about their blood sugar patterns. The majority of people have used CGM for a long time. A CGM device can be used to:
Shows a Clear Picture of Your DiabetesEvery few minutes, the CGM monitors glucose levels. This information provides a more detailed view of how your blood glucose levels fluctuate. Food, activity, stress, and illness can all affect your blood sugar levels. This info can help you and your doctor better comprehends how they are affected.
Lead to More Personalized CareCGM does not provide a complete picture of how diabetes affects you. It tells you when your glucose levels rise or fall quickly, not why they go up or down. On the other hand, your provider can obtain CGM data from your device and look for patterns and trends. Depending on what they discover, they can tailor your care.
Efficient Enough to Alert to Highs and LowsWhen your sugar levels go up or down by a specific amount, most CGM devices provide you with an alert. You can make modifications rapidly with this information. You might be able to treat or avoid highs and lows before they become a major issue.
Goodbye to Finger SticksThe number of fingerstick tests you’ll require to do each day will be greatly reduced with CGM. Instead of using finger sticks, CGM employs a small sensor that connects to your smartphone or a reader.
Who Should Use Either Device?A CGM is frequently the greatest fit if you’re on drugs that need a lot of decision-making (like insulin), have low blood sugar spells, and monitor your blood sugar multiple times each day. Furthermore, the cost of a CGM may not always outweigh the advantages of reducing the diabetic self-care burden. Yet, each choice is a personal one.
Is CGM a Cure for Diabetes?CGM is not a diabetic cure. It’s a device (and not one you can set and forget). For CGM to be effective, you must actively use it. On the other hand, CGM may help you better regulate your blood glucose levels and overall health in less time after you get the feel of it.
Is It Okay to Stop Doing Fingerstick Checks If I have a CGM Device?Fingerstick checks will continue to be an important part of your diabetes management. Because fingerstick testing assesses sugar levels in your blood, they provide you with the most accurate picture of your glucose level right now. CGM monitors glucose beneath your skin and displays your glucose levels for the last five to ten minutes. Certain things might cause glucose levels to spike or fall quickly in people with diabetes. Variations in large blood glucose levels or occur quickly can be harmful. A fingerstick check can give valuable information that can assist you in acting to preserve your health. It can also be used to corroborate CGM results as a backup.
When to Do a Fingerstick Check While Using a CGM Device?To adjust (set up or adjust), you may need to perform fingerstick checks. You’ll probably need to undergo fingerstick checks to monitor your sugar levels in certain circumstances. If your CGM device indicates rising or declining readings, but you feel OK, a fingerstick check may provide you peace of mind. According to the CGM, it can also give you answers if you’re not feeling well but your glucose levels are within normal limits.
Continuous Glucose Monitor and an Insulin Pump- Are They Same?Insulin pumps and CGM devices are not the same. They serve a variety of purposes. CGM devices continuously monitor your blood glucose levels every few minutes throughout the day. Insulin pumps provide a constant infusion of insulin based on your instructions. They are, however, comparable in certain aspects. Insulin pumps and CGM devices are both:
- Digitalized, they operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as you wear them.
- CGM devices and pumps are usually worn directly on the body, arm, or abdomen.
- CGM and pumps can be tailored to fit your lifestyle and how diabetes affects you.
- CGM is more convenient because it requires less fingerstick testing. Insulin pumps reduce the number of injections required (insulin shots).
- CGM and pumps enable you to better control diabetes, but neither is a quick fix. However, you must actively use each gadget and make your own medical decisions.