Complications Of High And Low Blood Sugar Levels
If you dont get treatment, high blood sugar levels can lead to long-term complications, including:
Before checking your blood glucose levels, make sure that you have:
- a finger-stick device to prick your finger, such as a lancet
- an alcohol swab to sterilize the puncture site
- a blood glucose monitor
- a bandage if bleeding continues beyond a few drops
Also, depending on the type of test youre taking, you may need to adjust your meal schedule or time it around your meal, depending on your doctors instructions.
Are There Different Types Of Cgms And How Much Do They Cost
There are different brands of continuous glucose monitors but not necessarily different types of continuous glucose monitors. Blood glucose meters also read blood glucose but require fingerstick measures and can only read a single glucose level.
The cost of continuous glucose monitors varies by brand and where you purchase . Some insurance plans may cover all or part of the cost of a CGM for those who qualify, and you may need a prescription or doctorâs approval before purchase. Continuous glucose monitors can cost $150â500 a month.
How Is Blood Glucose Monitoring Performed
Before you begin, wash your hands thoroughly to prevent infection at the finger-prick site. If you use alcohol wipes instead of washing, be sure to let the site dry before testing.
Next, put a testing strip into the meter. Prick your finger with the lancet to get a small drop of blood. Use the sides of the fingertips instead of the tip to decrease finger discomfort.
The blood goes on the test strip you inserted into the meter. Your monitor will analyze the blood and give you the blood glucose reading on its digital display usually within a minute.
Finger pricks rarely require a bandage, but you may want to use one if bleeding continues beyond a few drops. Its important to follow all the instructions that came with your glucometer to ensure accurate results.
If you have type 1 diabetes, you may need to test your blood glucose four or more times per day. This includes before and after meals and exercise, and more often when you are sick.
If you have type 2 diabetes, your doctor will let you know when and how often to test your blood glucose.
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Continuous Glucose Monitoring System Watch
So, you can even download apps to your smart watcheslike an Apple watchthat will allow you to monitor your CGM sensor data. It will function as your mobile receiver. Dexcom has an app you can download which allows you to do this. I found one great website which covers every question you can imagine regarding CGMs and watches.
Continuous Glucose Monitoring: Everything You Need To Know
By Tammy Shifflett RN, BSN, CDE, CPT
Continuous glucose monitors or CGMs can be a lifesaving device for people with any type of diabetes. They continually check your blood sugar 24 hours a day and alert you you before you begin experiencing low or high blood sugar levels.
They can reduce the number of times you have to check your blood sugar each day which is welcome news for everyone with diabetes!
Insurance coverage is changing this year with Medicare jumping on board also, so this is the time to learn about this awesome piece of technology available to you.
I know there are a lot of questions surrounding the use of continuous glucose monitoring, so we will break it all down here for you!
- What is a CGM and how does it work?
- Is it right for me?
- Will I still have to check my blood sugar?
- What choices do I have currently on the market?
- Will my insurance cover a CMG? How much will it cost?
- Can I travel and play sports with a CGM?
In this article I will answer all your questions.
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Cost Of Buying A Freestyle Libre
The cost of Freestyle Libre or Freestyle Libre 2 sensors are around £50 every 2 weeks. If you have a compatible smartphone you can just and use your phone to scan the sensor to see the readings. But if you dont, you can buy a small device called a reader, for around £50 and this is a one-off purchase. Speak to your healthcare professional about where you can buy a reader from they can be available direct from the manufacturer , from a pharmacy or online but this can change.
How To Use A Blood Sugar Meter
There are different kinds of meters, but most of them work the same way. Ask your health care team to show you the benefits of each. In addition to you, have someone else learn how to use your meter in case youre sick and cant check your blood sugar yourself.
Below are tips for how to use a blood sugar meter.
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What Does Cgm Measure
CGM is a tool for people with diabetes. It measures your glucose levels 24 hours a day when you are wearing the device.
Insulin is a hormone that helps your body regulate blood sugar levels. If you have Type 1 diabetes, your body doesnt produce enough of the hormone insulin. In Type 2 diabetes, your body makes insulin but doesnt use it effectively.
People with diabetes need to give themselves insulin regularly to keep blood sugar levels steady.
How To Use A Glucometer
Though different brands of glucometers have different features and mechanisms, here are steps that are common for all glucometers:
- Insert the glucometer test strips in the device properly. If not inserted properly, you might get a wrong reading or no reading at all. Most glucometers prompt you with a signal to tell you that the instrument is ready.
- Clean the site where you are about to prick to draw blood. Clean it with soap and warm water or alcohol-based sanitizer. Dry it thoroughly. This is to avoid any remaining moisture tampering with the values.
- Open the cap of the lancing device and prick the site.
- Place the blood drop on the test strip.
- Most glucometers take not more than 50 seconds after this step to display your blood sugar readings.
Do make it a point to measure your blood sugar levels as prescribed. This is an essential part of diabetes treatment at home that should continue along with medication, diet, and exercise.
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Can I Stop Doing Fingerstick Checks To Monitor My Blood Sugar If I Have A Cgm Device
No. Fingerstick checks will still be an essential tool for you to manage diabetes.
Because fingerstick checks measure glucose levels in your blood, they provide the best picture of what your glucose level is at the precise moment you take it. CGM measures glucose under your skin, which shows where your glucose levels were five to 10 minutes ago.
With diabetes, certain things can make glucose levels rise or fall quickly. Big or fast changes in blood glucose levels can be dangerous. Doing a fingerstick check can provide important information to help you take action to protect your health. It can also act as a backup tool to confirm CGM results.
What Are The Advantages Of Using Cgm To Manage Diabetes
Using a CGM device can make it easier to manage Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Some people use CGM for a week to understand their blood sugar patterns. Most use CGM long-term.
A CGM device can:
- Show you a bigger picture of how diabetes affects you: CGM measures glucose levels every few minutes. That data shows a more complete picture of how your blood sugar levels change over time. This information can help you and your provider better understand how things like food, activity, stress and illness impact your blood sugar levels.
- Lead to more personalized care: CGM doesnt give the whole story of all the ways diabetes affects you. It tells you when glucose goes up or down, not why. But your provider can download CGM data from your device and review it for patterns and trends. They can then personalize your care based on what they learn.
- Alert you to highs and lows: Most CGM devices send an alert when your glucose levels rise or fall a certain amount. With this information, you can make changes quickly. You may be able to treat or prevent highs or lows before they turn into a big problem.
- Reduce how many fingerstick checks you need to do: CGM significantly reduces how many fingerstick tests youll need to do each day.
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How Do Continuous Glucose Monitoring Devices Work
You can choose among a handful of CGM devices available today. Each works pretty much the same way. The main differences are in a devices look, feel and features.
In general, heres how CGM works:
Continuous Glucose Monitor Use For Diabetics
Diabetics either don’t make enough insulin or the insulin isnât as effective. This causes glucose to rise unchecked, leading to a host of serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations.
CGMs help diabetics monitor and manage their blood glucose. With a CGM, you can see trends and gain insight into the impact of meals, exercise, and illness on glucose levels. CGM wearers can be alerted when glucose spikes or drops outside of a specific range.
For diabetics, the American Diabetes Association suggests the following blood glucose targets:
- 80 to 130 mg/dL before eating
- < 180 mg/dL two hours after starting a meal
Continuous glucose monitors were created initially for diabetics and pre-diabetics to better manage their health by monitoring their blood glucose. Recent discoveries linking better blood sugar management to benefits like weight loss and increased energy are helping CGMs gain mainstream adoption.
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When Is It Used
A monitors is used to look for trends in glucose levels, like whats happening overnight or high blood sugar levels between meals, or early morning spikes in blood sugar.Its not meant to replace monitoring your blood sugars with a meter though. The main advantage of continuous glucose monitoring is that it can help identify fluctuations and trends that would otherwise go unnoticed with standard A1C tests and finger stick measurements, and allow you to take action to avoid severe highs or lows.
Continuous Blood Glucose Testing: How Do Sensors Work
Sensors record glucose levels continuously around the clock!They allow you to see how fast and in what direction glucose levels are trending. You can also see what your sugar levels were overnight. Glucose readings are transmitted to a monitor or insulin pump where the values are displayed.Currently there is only one on the market. Its made by Medtronic. Others may be available in the near future.
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How Does A Continuous Glucose Monitor Work
A CGM works through a tiny sensor inserted under your skin, usually on your belly or arm. The sensor measures your interstitial glucose level, which is the glucose found in the fluid between the cells. The sensor tests glucose every few minutes. A transmitter wirelessly sends the information to a monitor.
The monitor may be part of an insulin pump or a separate device, which you might carry in a pocket or purse. Some CGMs send information directly to a smartphone or tablet. Several models are available and are listed in the American Diabetes Associations product guide.
How To Use Glucose Monitor
In order to use a wearable glucose monitor, you need to first insert the sensor which is about the size of a penny. This process is simple and can be done at home if you follow the instructions. There are also options to have your doctor insert the sensor, which means you avoid an extra trip. When inserting the sensor, you need to make sure youre not wearing any lotion or deodorant because this can interfere with the accuracy of your glucose monitor.
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Cgms Used By The Nhs Or To Buy
The Freestyle Libre 3 is a CGM which is available on the NHS but not yet available to buy.
These are some of the other CGMs available:
Dexcom G6 licensed for those aged two and over
Dexcom G5 licensed for those aged two and over
Glucomenday licensed for those aged six and over
Guardiam Connect no age restriction
Some CGMs work with insulin pumps – see information on these integrated systems.
Troubleshooting Information For Freestyle Libre2 Users
We know that lots of people have been reporting issues they’ve been having with the Freestyle Libre 2.
We previously collated some of these issues and fed this back to Abbott who have provided us with some ‘Top Tips’ for issues with Libre 2 alarms.
If you have any concerns or specific issues with your Freestyle Libre2, please contact Abbott directly via their Libre2 support pages. Or use the Abbott guides we’re sharing below.
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How To Use The Freestyle Libre Monitor
To set up the FreeStyle Libre, you must first insert the sensor into your upper arm with an applicator thats included with the set. The sensor itself is about the size of a coin and is applied just underneath the top layer of your skin. This process is said to be painless, but some users experience mild skin irritation.
Instead of checking your glucose several times a day with a finger stick, you wave the monitor above the sensor in your skin to check your levels anytime you wish.
Since the FreeStyle Libre doesnt have any automatic alerts when your blood glucose is at dangerous levels, its important to set reminders to help you remember to check your monitor regularly. You should check your levels at least every 8 hours.
The original FreeStyle Libre allowed users to wear the sensor wire
Comparison To Other Devices
The FreeStyle Libre is referred to as a flash glucose monitoring system. Unlike other CGMs, like the Medtronic Guardian 3 and Dexcom G6, the FreeStyle Libre checks glucose levels every minute rather than every five minutes. It can also be worn for 14 days as opposed to seven days for the Medtronic Guardian 3 or 10 days for the Dexcom G6.
The FreeStyle Libre system does not require fingerprick calibrations. And, because there is no transmitter, the system costs less than other CGMs.
Whereas other CGM sensors can be placed on the belly and buttocks, the FreeStyle Libre is only approved for use on the back of the arm. If placed in other areas, the sensor may not work properly.
A newer CGM called the Eversense system offers continuous 90-day glucose monitoring. But sales of the device were halted in 2020 due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic but also to the fact that the device has to be implanted by a doctor.
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What Is A Glucometer
A glucometer is a hand-held electric device operated by batteries with a display and a slot to insert particular test strips. When used properly, a glucometer gives the blood glucose value. Previously it was used primarily by persons suffering from Type-1 diabetes, but now its used by Type-2 diabetes patients as well. To learn more about the different types of diabetes, its symptoms, complications, treatment and prevention please .
Whatever type of diabetes youre suffering from, keeping the blood glucose value within the target normal range is the goal in treating diabetes. This can be achieved only by repeatedly testing your blood glucose levels at your home, office or wherever you go. This is where a glucometer comes into play.
Here is a helpful video that illustrates how to use an Accu-Chek Active glucometer.