Monday, October 15, 2012

Continuous Glucose Monitors


I hate to prick my fingers, some days I can’t seem to get any blood out of my finger, other days I get too much blood that gets all over the place, and then there are other days when I prick my finger and get shot in the face with blood and look like an advertisement for Dexter. I go through this 4-6 times a day and it can drive me nuts. It wasn’t until I heard about continuous glucose monitors that I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. This little device checks my blood sugars throughout the day and then tells my insulin pump where my blood sugars are so I can be alerted if my blood sugars are dropping or rising. It’s just fantastic, I mean really fantastic. Pricking my fingers isn’t terrible, but if I could eliminate it altogether I would.

Here is how a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) works. First, you insert the sensor just under the skin. It doesn’t hurt; it’s just the same as putting in your insulin pump cannula. Then the sensor records your blood glucose levels every 10 seconds and sends all the information to your insulin pump so that you can see what your blood sugar trends are. Most pumps alert you when you go out of range, letting you know if you need insulin or need to eat or drink a glass of juice. The CGM doesn’t take out having to do finger pricks; you still need to calibrate the sensor with at least two finger pricks a day. The device is to stay in your skin for 3-5 days and then should be removed. Once you have removed the sensor you can then download all the information it recorded and either print it out for your next doctors appointment, or choose to email the information to your doctor, if your doctors office allows it.

The CGM isn’t for everyday use. It is good to use every now and then to see what your trends are and if you need to make any adjustments to your basal insulin. If you are interested in the CGM there are a few devices out there that are FDA approved. You can choose from Medtronic’s Minimed, the FreeStyle Navigator, and the Dexcom. If you are tired of constantly pricking your fingers each day you might want to look into one of these devices and give your fingers a break. 

3 comments:

  1. Fyi, the Nav isn't available in the US. If it was affordable, I would use Dex full-time with the occasional break when it feels so great not to carry the receiver all the time or fuss with varying accuracy of the sensor.

    I'd love to see optical technology make it possible to test bg without drawing blood.

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  2. I guess this is kinda on the topic of your post. I recently read about the C8 MediSensors Optical Glucose Monitor and it has me pretty excited. You can read about it here: http://www.c8medisensors.com/experience/. It is currently going through European Approval and is expected to be available there in 2013, in the US after FDA approval (No projected date).

    It's basically a non invasive CGM that uses a flash of light to read your Blood Glucose level. If it truly is as simple and accurate as they indicate, it could be a huge tool to have. It doesn't really do anything that existing CGM don't already do, but would be much more convenient and could be worn more permanently. Also doesn't seem to have any re-occurring costs of any sort.

    Just something that I am keeping an eye on.

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