Is Continuous Glucose Monitoring the Future?

cgm diabetesFor diabetic patients, there may be a new technology that can help revolutionize and save more lives. CGM or Continuous glucose monitoring technology provides real-time feedback that can potentially change the field of diabetes care entirely. While there are still challenges involved with the new technology, like high cost, insurance coverage, and clinical limitations.

In the recent past, accurate blood glucose levels could only be attained by daily assessments which were very expensive and inconvenient. Careful, conscientious self-blood glucose monitoring can only provide limited feedback; as a result, achieving the targeted blood glucose levels for patients has been very difficult information about the rate or direction of blood glucose fluctuations despite multiple testing of blood glucose levels a day using products such as Prodigy test strips and Accuchek lancets.

Continuous glucose monitoring can provide current blood glucose information (real-time), important information about how effective a current diabetes solution is, and vital warnings for if and when dangerously high or low levels of blood glucose occur. The two types of patients with diabetes that will benefit most potentially from the new technology are type 1 and type 2 diabetics.

First of all, type 1 patients with diabetes are not only prone to elevated blood-glucose levels; they are also susceptible to hypoglycemia. Type 1 patients are not able to suppress circulating insulin concentrations while their glucose level is decreasing. Type 2 diabetic patients dependent on external insulin administrations may also potentially benefit from using the new CGM technology. It will most likely be crucially beneficial to any person who experiences hypoglycemia. There is in particular among both groups a concept called “hypoglycemic unawareness,” which means that individuals may not be able to recognize when their blood sugar levels are low. While the Prodigy auto code meter, or the FreeStyle diabetes test, can provide accurate readings, they are used on an as-needed basis, instead of continuously—meaning that they don’t allow patients to learn as quickly what hypoglycemia “feels” like.

The CGM device is made up of three components: a transmitter attached to a sensor, a receiver that can store and display information, and a sensor that measures the glucose levels and is disposable. A thin sensor made of plastic is inserted under the upper arm or abdomen skin using a self-insertion or applicator device. Some devices have vibration or alarm that sounds when hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia is detected. Additionally, the receiver is able to store information for long-term, later use that is downloadable to computers.

However, it is important to understand that CGM technology requires a certain level of dexterity to be able to insert the sensor properly. Users also need to be able to understand the mechanics of the technology to be able to respond appropriately to the alarms and the sensor readouts. While using CGM, individuals need to use an intensive form of insulin therapy to be able to check the blood-glucose finger-stick measurements in comparison to the sensor information two times on a daily basis.

When it comes to medical attention, cost is typically a huge concern for most individuals. Unfortunately, most insurance companies do not currently cover the medical cost of using CGM technology. As a result, patients who are considering using it will expect to pay anywhere from $5 to $10 every day. This high cost can be a deterrent to many people who are unable to afford it. While waiting for the price to come down, patients can still rely on blood glucose meters such as the Prodigy auto code and the FreeStyle diabetes test kit.

 

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