Am I a Good Candidate for a Continuous Glucose Monitor?
Are you interested in using a CGM? Find the answers to questions that pique your curiosity in our series, The Short Answer. Mary Vouyiouklis Kellis, MD, fields this one.
A CGM (continuous glucose monitor) is a small device that monitors your blood glucose levels 24/7. It allows you to view your blood glucose readings on your smartphone or receiver about every five minutes.
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A CGM is made up of a sensor, transmitter and wireless device or receiver. The sensor is inserted under the skin and can last from one week to three months until it needs to be changed, depending on the model you have. The CGM sends the glucose information to the receiver wirelessly. It can be worn on different areas of the body, typically working best on your arm or abdomen.
The device informs you in real time when your blood glucose is going low or high. It is especially helpful overnight when it can alarm and wake you when it senses your blood glucose dropping so you can avoid hypoglycemia and its associated risks. Studies have shown that CGMs have helped users to reduce their A1C. By being more aware of blood glucose changes in your body during the day, you can make dietary or insulin changes before meals and improve your overall blood glucose levels.
Ideal candidates for a CGM are people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who take multiple injections a day and those who are on an insulin pump. Before using a CGM, you will want to check to see if your insurance plan covers it.
You need a prescription from a provider for a CGM. Insertion is usually easy with your doctor’s help and online tutorials available on how to insert them. Occasionally there can be skin irritation at the area of the sensor and infection is always a risk, but it is a very small risk.
— Endocrinologist Mary Vouyiouklis Kellis, MD