Diabetes is a condition which millions of patients navigate daily – whether they know it or not. In the last fifty years, several scientific discoveries have significantly improved the lives of patients living with this disease. One major step in this field is a relatively recent development: the invention of the continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system.
It’s far from an exaggeration to say that CGMs have been one of the most significant achievements in the fight against diabetes thus far. These systems are currently the latest technological tools available for people with diabetes to control their blood glucose levels. Better yet, they can significantly reduce the number of fingerstick tests diabetes patients need to do on an average day.
Are you interested in learning more about CGM systems? This article will give you all the information you need about this cutting-edge technology – and some of the best products available in this category today.
Why Choose a Continuous Glucose Monitor?
If you have diabetes, you know how annoying fingerstick tests can be. These tests can be painful and inconvenient – and there’s a good chance you’ll need to do them multiple times a day!
A continuous glucose monitor consists of three parts: a sensor, a transmitter sending readings at regular intervals, and a receiver. With a CGM, people living with diabetes can wear sensors that continuously monitor their glucose levels day and night. You can expect a range of health and convenience factors when using a CGM device. With a CGM, an accurate reading* is provided instantaneously, helping you make informed choices regarding medications and other aspects of treatment.
It’s important to mention here that CGMs can’t completely eliminate the need for traditional blood glucose tests. You’ll still need to do these tests if your diabetes symptoms don’t match your readings and in some other situations. However, a CGM system can reduce your need for fingerstick tests significantly.
Advantages of Using Continuous Glucose Monitors
- Accurate readings*
- More convenient than fingerstick tests
- Provide enhanced diabetes control and management
- Simple and easy to use – no control solutions
- The gold standard of care in glucose monitoring
How Affordable Are Continuous Glucose Monitors?
Since CGM technology is still new, the CGM systems on the market today are more expensive than traditional forms of glucose monitoring. That said, when you are managing a disease like diabetes, you want the best standard of care. For many people, this means adding a CGM to their diabetes management regimen.
Are you Medicare-eligible for diabetes products? If so, Medicare may also cover a CGM and associated supplies for you. Contact our Customer Care Team at 1-866-422-4866 to see if you qualify for a CGM system with no out-of-pocket costs.
The Best CGM Systems In 2021
If you are looking to switch to a CGM system, Advanced Diabetes Supply can help you make the best choice for your needs. Here are some great continuous glucose monitors to consider.
Freestyle Libre 14 Day CGM
As its name suggests, the FreeStyle Libre 14 Day CGM is an excellent choice if you don’t want to deal with constant sensor replacements. When you apply this system’s sensor, it’ll stay in place for up to two weeks. The sensor is small, discreet and water resistant up 3 feet for 30 minutes. Once it’s ready to go, you’ll get reliable readings updated every minute – with no calibration or coding required.
Before you order this system, there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, it does not provide real-time alerts if your glucose levels get too high or too low; you can find this feature in the FreeStyle Libre 2 system. However, the Libre 14 Day CGM’s reader stores up to 90 days of glucose data so patients can see their patterns and trend history along with visual alerts. The Libre 14 day has no Acetaminophen interactions. The manufacturer has also reported with the Libre 14 Day that high levels of aspirin and Vitamin C may cause inaccurate results with the system.
The FreeStyle Libre 14 Day CGM is a fantastic option for many people interested in CGM technology despite these factors. Because of that, this system has become part of the many lives of people living with diabetes.
FreeStyle Libre 2 CGM
The latest CGM from Abbott is the FreeStyle Libre 2 system. This CGM is similar to the 14-day system in many ways, but there are a few key differences to point out.
The FreeStyle Libre 2 CGM is approved for children as young as 4 years old, which is a marked difference from the FreeStyle Libre 14 day. This CGM also has customizable alarms which can communicate digitally with other devices, keeping you aware of highs and lows. Like the 14 day system, its sensors last for two weeks and the reader stores up to 90 days of data.
It’s important to note that as of November 2021, the Libre app is not available for all smart phones. The iOS Apple app was approved in late 2021. For those accustomed to using their smartphones instead of carrying around the separate reader, this is a critical distinction.
The Dexcom G6 is also another great Medicare-approved CGM. Much like the Freestyle Libre, the Dexcom G6 will let you forget about the pain and hassle of fingerstick tests as an everyday part of your life. With this monitor, you can look forward to a more discreet glucose monitoring experience.
The Dexcom G6’s one-button sensor inserter is a significant improvement over older models, as is the stronger accuracy without the need for calibration. The sensors used in this CGM can last for about ten days – a slightly shorter lifespan than those used in the FreeStyle Libre, but not dramatically so. Highlights of the Dexcom G6 CGM include Acetaminophen blocking, no calibration needed, and the sensor and transmitter are waterproof (up to 8 feet for 24 hours). This device also provides an “Urgent Low Soon” alert and audio and vibration-based alerts, which are customizable according to the day or time.
Finally, keep in mind that some Tandem insulin pumps are interoperable with the Dexcom G6. The monitor can send data to the pump, the Dexcom G6 smartphone app, or a smartwatch.
This unique CGM has several advantages. Its sensor life is among the longest in the industry, with an impressive 90-day lifespan. Moreover, users can select audio and vibration alerts that are compatible with a smartphone app – even if the phone is out of range, the transmitter will vibrate when there’s an alert. Data from this CGM is not affected by acetaminophen and/or Vitamin C usage and is sharable in real-time.
While it’s futuristic even by CGM standards, the Eversense does have some drawbacks. Most notably, an incision from a physician is required to insert or remove the sensor, and there’s a 24-hour period for warm-up. You must also calibrate the device twice a day and charge the transmitter once or twice a day. However, the transmitter is removable, and water resistant when submerged in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes.
Continuous Glucose Monitoring With Insulin Pumps
Some continuous glucose monitors can work in conjunction with insulin pumps. This way, insulin delivery can be adjusted or paused in response to any changes in your glucose level.
Another option is using a combined CGM system and insulin pump. You should consider the cost of insulin pump supplies, but the convenience and accuracy this method provides are unmatched.
Why Choose ADS for Continuous Glucose Monitoring Systems?
Advanced Diabetes Supply is a company that cares. It shows in everything we do, from the services we provide to the professionals that we employ. We are dedicated to serving our patients and clients with quality products and services, along with a team of healthcare professionals that specialize in diabetes care.
We want to see our patients be as healthy as possible and support our clients in diabetes care and management. Our customers trust us because we work diligently to provide the best care available with honesty and integrity. In addition to having Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialists (CDCES) on staff, we also have pharmacists that specialize in diabetes with additional credentials as CDCESs. The knowledge and experience of our certified professionals are unsurpassed.
In keeping with our commitment to customer satisfaction and care, ADS is proud to provide free home delivery of CGMs and other products to meet our patients wherever they may be. We also offer refills and CGM maintenance so that you won’t experience gaps in your care. We adhere to policies and procedures that safeguard patient information and comply with industry-specific safety standards that put our patients first. If you’re ready to start using a CGM system for diabetes, place your order with us today!
*For some CGM systems, high levels of certain medications or supplements may alter sensor readings. Refer to your system’s manual for more information.