The Benefits of Reliable Glucose Monitoring (and How It’s Done)

The Benefits of Reliable Glucose Monitoring (and How It’s Done)In the United States there are an estimated 25.8 million Americans have diabetes which totals to be 8.3% of the entire U.S. population. Another estimated 79 million Americans have prediabetes which is high blood glucose (but not enough to be called diabetes).

This disease is one of the fastest growing issues we have in the United States.

There are no cures for diabetes. The current option for management of diabetes is to continually measure blood glucose levels and to take required insulin. Exercise aids in keeping blood glucose levels stable but those afflicted by this disease still have a requirement to test their levels which is generally done so via finger pricks and testing strips.

Enter: Continuous Glucose Monitoring Systems

Continuous Glucose Monitoring Systems (such as those provided by Dexcom) are devices which allow individuals to monitor their blood glucose levels through the use of a tiny sensor (inserted in the body) which provides constant data to the monitoring device.

Traditional vs. CGM

Diabetes is a disease which interrupts much of the daily routine of the individuals affected.

Per doctor’s orders the individual may be required to test multiple times each day. Depending on the type of Diabetes (type 1 or type 2) the person may be required to do these tests at times which are disruptive or possibly at times which are out of their control (such as when commuting to work).

There are many complaints when it comes to traditional monitoring:

·  The constant pricking is painful to areas such as fingers or lower belly

·  The price of testing strips and devices can be costly

·  The timing needed for testing can be entirely inconvenient

Reliable Glucose Monitoring

The CGM systems, currently available on the market, use a myriad of technology:

·  Glucose Sensor – The sensor, under the skin, which uses electrodes to detect glucose levels.

·  Transmitter – The technology which connects the sensor to the receiver which, depending on device, may either use a built-in power source or replaceable, rechargeable batteries.

·  Receiver – The device which displays the results.

Software used by the devices vary depending on the provider. The software has evolved with the times which allows its users to set customizable alarms and even track their levels using reports generated by proprietary software available on the computer.

Usage

CGM systems are meant to be worn for extended periods of time to reduce the hassle from the need to constantly monitor ones’ glucose levels. The transmitter allows up to a 20 foot range which gives the individual a lot of discretion and flexibility in their activities.

Once an individual requires insulin they proceed with their normal routine.

Resource: View a complete overview of these products and how they are used.

Costs

The cost of continuous glucose monitoring systems do come at a higher premium than traditional testing methods but providers accept most forms of medical insurance.

Costs of monitoring devices range in the hundreds to thousands dollars and pricing for the installation of the sensors greatly depend on your health care provider. Cost also depends on personal preference.

A Bright Future

On one final note about CGM systems:

The FDA has recently approved the use of Dexcom’s G4 Platinum CGM system for pediatric use.

The study which led to this approval stated “ … the study did demonstrate that the device is effective for tracking and trending to determine patterns in glucose levels, and for alerting patients when glucose values are approaching potentially dangerously high (hyperglycemic) and/or dangerously low (hypoglycemic) levels.”

The time of the finger prick may soon come to an end. The emergence of continuous glucose monitoring shines a light on a bright future for those affected by diabetes.

Editorial Team
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