By Dr. Shelia Spann

I hear this all the time when people are trying to test their glucose (blood sugar) anywhere from one to five times a day:

“I’m afraid of needles.” 

“I don’t like the pain.” 

“I bruise easily.”

Blood glucose control is central to the management of diabetes, and taking away finger pricks through CGM (continuous glucose monitoring) makes a big difference while improving glycemic control.

Continuous glucose monitors

Today’s CGM technology brings diabetes management into the 21st century. The monitor is a small wearable device that provides people who have diabetes with the information they need to make daily blood sugar management decisions. This small device tracks blood glucose levels in real time throughout the day and night. Without pricking your finger, you can see your blood glucose levels.

You can also see what direction it’s headed via up, down, or sideways arrows. CGM also can alert you to high or low levels.

How a CGM works

A CGM consists of three parts:

  1. Receiver (or smartphone): A device where you can check your blood glucose level, look at past data, and view trends and patterns.
  2. Sensor: This device measures blood glucose. It consists of a very thin wire that is inserted under the skin in the subcutaneous tissue (body fat). It is painless to wear and remains in the skin for several days.
  3. Transmitter: Some CGM have a small piece that fits onto the sensor and sits above the skin. This reusable transmitter sends blood glucose data wirelessly to your display device.

Inserting the CGM sensor is easy and painless, can be done at home, and takes just a few minutes. Most CGM sensors need to be replaced about every two weeks depending on the model.

How do I get a CGM?

Ask your provider to write a prescription. Check what brands are covered under your insurance (including Medicaid and Medicare).

CGMs available today:

  • Abbott Freestyle Libre 14-day, Libre 2, Libre 3
  • Dexcom G7
  • Medtronic Guardian Connect
  • Senseonics Eversense

The first over-the-counter CGM (requiring no prescription), Dexicom Stelo, will be available this summer.

Diabetes affects more than 422 million people worldwide. It is the ninth leading cause of death, and it is associated with increased mortality, cardiovascular events, kidney failure, limb amputation, dementia, hearing loss, and cancers.

If you have diabetes, Diabetes Solutions and Wellness offers education and support for adults diagnosed with pre-diabetes, Type 1 or 2 diabetes, or gestational diabetes. We use resources from the American Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists, and many on our staff are Certified Diabetes Educators.

“I pray you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” – 3 John 1:2

Health and Wellness

Dr. Shelia Spann, PharmD, CDCES, is a pharmacist, diabetes educator, and executive director of Diabetes Solutions and Wellness in Canton, a nonprofit whose mission is to provide quality comprehensive diabetes self-management education and support to those living with and affected by diabetes.

Pro-Life Mississippi