Continuous glucose monitors are devices that are used to track the level of glucose in the blood automatically. They’re mostly attached to the arm or belly and use a small sensor that the patient inserts under his skin. The sensor tracks the level of glucose in the interstitial fluid that is found in between the cells.
What is continuous glucose monitoring?
This refers to the act of continually monitoring blood glucose levels all through the day and night. The patients can see their glucose level at a glance at any time. They can, therefore, review how their glucose levels change over a period.
The recordings are made available in real-time as the readings are sent every few minutes to a monitor from the transmitter. This makes it possible for patients to make more informed decisions with regards to changes in their diet, exercise, and insulin.
What are some special features found in continuous glucose monitors?
These devices are constantly recording glucose levels. It doesn’t matter what the patient is doing. For example, he could be showering, exercising, sleeping, or working and can easily see the readings. The CGM will show readings on the monitor which may either be part of an insulin pump or a separate device that can be carried in the pocket or bag. Some models can be configured to send the readings directly to the patient’s or his caregiver’s smartphone. A lot of CGMs have special features that work with information from the glucose readings:
- An alarm that goes off when the readings are either too high or too low
- It allows patients to note their meals, physical activity, and medicines alongside their glucose levels
- Patients can download the data to their phones or computers to easily see and compare trends.
Who uses a continuous glucose monitor?
A patient with diabetes may need to check the CGM at least twice. The sensor on the device also needs to be replaced every 3 to 7 days depending on the model being used.
Most people to whom continuous glucose monitors are prescribed have type 1 diabetes. They’re not only suitable for use by adults but also for children as young as 2. Doctors recommend CGMs if the patient:
- Is on intensive insulin therapy
- Has hypoglycemia unawareness
- Often has high or low blood glucose
What are the benefits of continuous glucose monitors?
The continuous glucose monitor’s screen shows a graphical representation of the patient’s glucose levels. This makes it easier for them to know when it’s rising and dropping and how quickly or slowly it’s doing so. With this information, the patient can decide the best way to reach his target glucose level.
These devices have proven to be so useful in helping patients:
- Better manage their daily glucose levels
- Have fewer low blood glucose emergencies
- Need fewer finger sticks
Continuous glucose monitors may be used all the time or just for a couple of days. They’re very helpful in adjusting a patient’s care plan. Over time, proper management has proven to help people living with diabetes to stay healthy and prevent any complications.
For the patient’s safety, it advisable to take action immediately the CGM alarm goes off. There’s a treatment plan that’s usually given by the doctor to help bring the glucose into the target range.