Learning About Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs)

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What is a continuous glucose monitor?

Continuous glucose monitor

A continuous glucose monitor (CGM) is a device that you attach to your body. It shows your blood sugar (glucose) level at least every 5 minutes, day and night. If your blood sugar is too low and you don't notice it, a CGM can alert you in time to get treatment. Your doctor may also recommend using a CGM to help you stay in your target blood sugar range more consistently.

How is a CGM used?

A CGM has several parts:

  • The sensor is worn against your skin. It has a tiny needle that stays under your skin.
  • The transmitter is attached to the sensor. It regularly reads your blood sugar level. It sends this information to the receiver.
  • The wireless receiver is worn on your belt. Or it may be put in your pocket. The receiver displays and records your blood sugar levels. At any time, you can look at the receiver and see what your glucose level is. You can see if your level is going up or down. And you can tell how fast it is changing.

Some insulin pumps include CGM. In this case, the insulin pump is also the receiver.

The readings from the CGM can help you decide what to eat and how to exercise. And they can help you know how much medicine to take. You can note on the receiver when you do these things. That way you can see how those activities affect your blood sugar throughout the day and night. All this detailed information gives you and your doctor a better idea of what your treatment needs are.

What else should you know about CGMs?

  • To make sure the sensor takes accurate samples, you may have to replace it and put it on a different place on your body every 3 to 7 days.
  • CGMs don't replace finger-stick tests. You'll still need to prick your finger at least several times a day to make sure that the CGM is accurate.
  • A CGM can work best for you if you're willing to learn how to use the device and are committed to keeping your blood sugar under control.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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Current as of: July 21, 2016