HomeDiabetesHow to Use a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM)

How to Use a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM)

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Steady glucose screens, or CGMs for brief, are life-saving gadgets utilized by individuals with diabetes.  

These instruments assist them higher monitor their blood sugar ranges and glucose traits over time and enhance their time in vary (TiR), glucose ranges, and HbA1cs. 

CGMs are outfitted with alerts and alarms that may let the consumer know when their blood sugar ranges have gotten dangerously excessive or low. 

However how do you employ a CGM—and the way can this gadget enhance your diabetes administration? 

This text will let you know every part that you must find out about CGMs and the way greatest to make use of them. 

Woman wearing a CGM device near a ledge and looks out at the sunset.Woman wearing a CGM device near a ledge and looks out at the sunset.

What’s a steady glucose monitor? 

Steady glucose screens are small, externally-worn gadgets that lots of people with diabetes use in lieu of guide blood sugar testing. 

They don’t require an excessive amount of enter from the consumer and have been confirmed useful in enhancing blood sugar management. 

In distinction to guide blood sugar checks, a CGM will routinely take a look at the interstitial fluid (fluid discovered within the areas round cells) that can approximate a blood sugar studying inside 10% each 5 minutes, for as much as 288 readings per day. 

It is a big enchancment over the ten or so occasions an individual would usually manually take a look at their blood sugar. 

Moreover, a CGM reveals development strains, so you may predict future blood sugars, plan meals, and train accordingly. When you discover patterns, you may alter your medicines to remain on high of your administration much more. 

A useful tip is to set high and low blood sugar alarms that wake you up in the course of the evening so you may verify your blood sugars and keep away from emergencies. 

CGM expertise is enhancing on a regular basis. Dexcom, a preferred CGM producer, now has a product that comes with a Share function. This permits individuals to share their blood sugar knowledge with as much as 10 distant followers—making this an incredible choice for folks with kids who’ve diabetes. 

Some CGM techniques are actually built-in with insulin pump expertise, which may make insulin dosing changes primarily based on blood sugar readings. 

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Can anybody get a CGM? 

Eligibility for a CGM varies and is dependent upon what kind of medical health insurance you may have. Nonetheless, most state Medicaid applications, Medicare, and personal insurance coverage do cowl CGMs for individuals with diabetes. 

Some plans will solely enable individuals who inject insulin to qualify for a CGM.

Others would require the affected person to manually take a look at their blood sugar a sure variety of occasions per day to qualify.  And a few would require proof of frequent hypoglycemic occasions and even hypo-unawareness. 

Different plans will cowl a CGM for nearly anybody with a diabetes analysis. 

It’s essential to keep in mind that CGMs can be found by prescription solely. 

Speak along with your physician if you happen to’re interested by getting a CGM. In the event you qualify, they will help you get a prescription to strive it out! 

There may be additionally one thing referred to as a “short-term” or “skilled use” CGM the place you may primarily borrow a CGM out of your physician’s workplace for a shorter time frame (72 hours or two weeks, for instance), to easily monitor blood sugar traits to make administration changes. 

This is likely to be a good way to strive a CGM earlier than diving into truly shopping for a complete system. 

I certified for a CGM! How do I take advantage of it? 

There are 4 completely different manufacturers of CGM out there in america presently: 

  • Abbott Libre
  • Dexcom
  • Medtronic
  • Eversense 

Every comes with its personal professionals and cons, so be certain to speak along with your physician to determine which one will probably be most acceptable for you.

Some are extra reasonably priced than others, whereas others provide extra options that could be extra enticing to you as a affected person. 

Solely the Medtronic and Dexcom CGMs may be built-in with an insulin pumping system, so if you’re on insulin pump remedy, that’s one thing to contemplate.

When you’ve determined which kind of CGM you’d like to make use of, the next steps will help you get began.

Verify your insurance coverage protection 

That is an compulsory first step (in america), however it’s essential to see in case your medical health insurance will truly cowl the kind of CGM you want to use. 

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You’ll have wonderful protection that doesn’t require any copayments or further charges, however extra possible than not, you’ll must pay no less than a small proportion of the money value for a CGM. 

In the event you would not have medical health insurance, you’ll need to pay the whole checklist value of the CGM. 

Fill your prescription 

Many CGMs can be found as a pharmacy profit, this implies you could take your prescription proper to your pharmacy and decide up your CGM alongside along with your insulin every month.

Nonetheless, some medical health insurance plans require that CGMs are supplied as sturdy medical tools (DME). On this case, the affected person should work with a third-party provider, corresponding to Byram or Edgepark. 

If that’s the case, your physician will most certainly ship the prescription to them for you, after which a consultant from a third-party provider will manage your cargo and supply. There is no such thing as a value for delivery these medical gadgets.

This may be trickier as a result of typically there may be miscommunication between your medical health insurance plan, your physician, and these third-party suppliers. Nonetheless, they attempt to make the method as seamless as doable for the affected person. 

Attend all trainings

Normally hosted at your physician’s workplace, these trainings function an organization consultant who demos new insulin pumps or CGM provides for you. 

Nonetheless, increasingly more of those trainings are additionally out there on-line for extra comfort.

Corporations like Dexcom, Abbott, and Medtronic make these coaching periods simply out there on their web sites. 

Don’t overanalyze the info 

Are you all arrange along with your new CGM? Congrats! You’ve simply taken a giant leap in your diabetes journey that can hopefully have you ever feeling even higher and more healthy effectively into the longer term. 

A standard situation that new CGM customers typically encounter is the urge to overanalyze the info. This causes them to over-correct each excessive and low blood sugar ranges. This conduct ends in extra damaging blood sugar ranges (hi there, rollercoaster!) 

The truth is, checking your CGM knowledge traits an excessive amount of can contribute to nervousness and diabetes burnout. 

Keep in mind: it’s pure to see your blood sugar spike after you eat and drop whereas exercising. 

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Don’t set your expectations too excessive when first beginning on CGM remedy. There’s a big studying curve, and that you must learn to make the system be just right for you. 

Keep away from over-analyzing your CGM knowledge by relying in your insulin pump (and its preexisting settings) to make dosing choices for you rather than manipulating the numbers manually. 

Speak along with your physician if you happen to’re fighting CGM-induced nervousness. They will help you undertake wholesome boundaries round expertise. A psychological well being supplier will also be an incredible useful resource for reduction. 

Make CGM part of your routine

CGM expertise is an incredible addition to your diabetes toolbelt, however recognizing that it gained’t resolve all your blood sugar woes is essential. 

Habits like common train, maintaining a healthy diet, getting sufficient sleep, adjusting your medicines as wanted, and managing stress are additionally essential elements for residing a wholesome life with diabetes. 

CGM expertise can empower you with making higher dosing choices—together with deciding when and the way is one of the simplest ways to train, and what meals and drinks your blood sugars are most delicate to. 

Data is energy! Utilizing CGM knowledge to teach your self on how your physique reacts to sure meals, stress, and train may be extraordinarily useful.


Steady glucose screens, or CGMs for brief, are highly effective instruments utilized by individuals with diabetes to raised monitor their blood sugar ranges in real-time. 

In addition they present trending knowledge over time, so individuals can higher predict the place their blood sugars are headed—and in response, construct an train and consuming schedule that helps their blood sugar ranges. 

CGMs can enhance blood sugar and HbA1c ranges and vastly enhance high quality of life.

Make sure that to verify along with your medical health insurance to see what kind of CGM is roofed (if any.). 

Speak along with your physician to see which model of CGM is most acceptable in your care, as each model has professionals and cons. 

After filling your prescription and attending any necessary coaching (supplied each in-person and digital), it’s essential to not over-analyze the info. 

Keep in mind that CGM expertise is a robust a part of your diabetes toolbelt, however it isn’t the one software that you simply’ll must dwell a wholesome life with diabetes. 

Persevering with to train, eat healthily, handle stress, alter medicines as essential, and get sufficient sleep are additionally pivotal to residing effectively with diabetes. 

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