One exciting advancement in managing type 1 and type 2 diabetes has been the release of the new generation of continuous glucose monitors (“CGMs”). These new monitors are easy to use and provide real-time feedback on your blood sugar levels without needing a finger prick. In fact, these monitors are so easy and insightful that even people without diabetes are using them to better understand their health and diet (e.g., www.nutrisense.com).
For prediabetic patients, adoption of a CGM may be the best educational tool to help prevent the onset of Type 2 Diabetes.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What makes the new continuous glucose monitors different? The new generation of CGMs (e.g., Libre Freestyle 2 or 3) are about the size of a nickel, stick to the back of your arm for two weeks and connect to your phone via Bluetooth. No finger pricks or testing strips. They track your blood glucose continuously and send the info to your phone where you can see a trend line of your levels. This trendline gives immediate feedback when you are in/out of range and shows spikes and crashes so you can learn what caused them. Click here to watch a video overview of the new Freestyle Libre 3.
- Will insurance cover a new CGM? It depends. You will need to get a prescription from your provider and discuss coverage amounts with your specific insurance plan.
- What can I learn from a CGM that I don’t already know?
- Improve your sleep: Since CGMs track your glucose levels 24/7, they give insights into how what you eat or drink may impact your sleep. Example – did that nightcap or after-dinner snack cause a sharp drop in your blood sugar at 3 am and wake you up?
- Immediate feedback of what you eat/drink: You may think a meal is diabetic friendly or low glycemic index, but people react to foods differently. With a CGM, you can check your trendline during and after a meal and see how the meal’s composition impacted your glucose levels. Is your favorite pasta dish causing a bigger than expected spike and subsequent crash? Can adding a large serving of fiber or protein keep your blood sugar within range?
- Improve how you feel: Feeling tired and thinking it may be from low blood sugar? Take the guesswork out and know for sure if you are in range.
- Are there different brands of CGMs? Yes. Dexcom, Abbott’s Freestyle Libre 2 and 3, Medtronics Guardian, and Senseonics Eversense all have CGMs with various features and pros/cons. This website provides a good comparison table: Link to website comparing CGMs.
- Can I send the results from my CGM to my doctor’s office? Typically, yes. Many CGMs can electronically send your data to your doctor’s office so they can review it. Talk to your provider about remote patient monitoring options.