Measuring blood sugar (glucose) is a daily (or more frequent) activity for persons with diabetes, and it’s usually done with an intrusive finger prick to obtain blood for glucose testing. One of the method’s many flaws is that blood glucose measurement collected in this manner simply provide a snapshot in time with no context; they don’t follow rising and declining blood glucose levels.
People with diabetes would benefit from knowing whether their blood glucose is rising or declining, as well as being able to track patterns over time. This information would help them make better treatment decisions.
The main use of a Continuous Glucose Monitor
Several firms have invested in the development of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems to address this problem. These systems, as their name implies, are meant to continuously monitor blood glucose levels, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so that increasing and decreasing trends can be seen and acted upon. A wearable sensor, a transmitter, and a display device make up a CGM system. The sensor measures glucose levels in the interstitial fluid and is put just beneath the skin and secured with an adhesive patch.
The sensor delivers data to the transmitter, which displays the results on the display device. Many CGM systems now have extra features like smartphone connectivity, notifications when glucose levels rise or fall too quickly, long-distance data sharing with family members, and even machine learning-powered predictions of impending glucose levels.
How precise is CGM?
CGM Patches has been around since 2004, but its usability has grown in recent years. To keep their accuracy, CGM devices require fingerstick calibrations. Many contemporary devices are factory calibrated, allowing them to retain their accuracy without the use of finger sticks.
When blood sugar levels rise or fall rapidly, there may be a gap between CGM and BGM glucose concentration readings. The glucose level in the interstitial fluid (CGM) lags behind the glucose level in the capillary, where a fingerstick glucose test is performed. There may be a change after a meal or if glucose levels are rapidly decreasing. Newer devices are factory calibrated, and their algorithms account for lag time, allowing for more precise readings to be maintained.
CGM Costs and Coverage
One of the most significant impediments to CGM Patches use is the cost. The cost of replacing CGM sensors is continual because they are changed every 7 to 14 days. Disposable transmitters are included with some devices, making them less expensive. At an additional cost, other types of transmitters must be replaced every 3 to 12 months. For some devices, there is additionally a one-time cost for a reader or receiver. Many can be used instead of a reader or receiver with mobile devices.
CGMs collect more blood sugar data than BGMs, allowing treatment plans to be tweaked and improved. It can sound an alarm if blood sugar levels are too high or too low, potentially saving lives and assisting individuals in making better daily decisions.