Commonly Used Continuous Glucose Monitors
Each of the commonly used continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) have special features. There are differences in how the CGM is setup, who can use it, how the sensor is inserted, how data is collected and shown, and how the data can be shared. Talk with your healthcare team about what makes sense for you.
FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring
The FreeStyle Libre (or Flash CGM) is a system for continuous glucose monitoring that give you easy access to your glucose numbers. It uses a disposable sensor inserted in the upper arm and a handheld reader to show glucose information. There is no separate transmitter used to send the glucose information. Instead, to see the glucose information, the user scans the sensor with the reader to show the most recent 8 hours of information.
Users can set reminders but cannot receive automatic alarms or alerts for high, low, or quickly changing glucose levels because the FreeStyle Libre system requires users to swipe to see the glucose information.
Advantages include: a view of the glucose information right on the handheld reader, a cloud-based tracking software (LibreView) that allows you to download and share information with your healthcare team, and cost may be lower than other systems.
The FreeStyle Libre system comes set up (calibrated) from the factory and does not require any additional adjustments during use. A warm up period is required depending on the system, talk with your healthcare provider about how each system works for optimal glucose management. It can be used by people 18 years or older in the United States and as young as 7 years old in Europe. For people using the FreeStyle Libre system in the United States, there is a downloadable guide for using the CGM. It includes a scanning table and guide for using the FreeStyle Libre system trend arrows to adjust insulin. Learn more about using the trend arrows, making insulin decisions with the glucose information, planning for exercise and much more with this downloadable guide.
Complete information is available at freestylelibre.com
Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitoring Systems
Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) systems are available in many countries including the United States. They can be used by people managing diabetes who are as young as 2 years old. Dexcom CGM systems include a disposable sensor that can be inserted on the belly or lower back and can last for up to 10 days. Glucose information is sent to a transmitter that is placed on the sensor and is viewed by a handheld receiver.
Advantages include: the capability of setting customized alarms for high, low, or quickly changing glucose levels; viewing glucose information a handheld receiver or using the Dexcom Studio software and Dexcom Clarity; also sending information to compatible smart devices using the Dexcom mobile app. Information can also be shared with family members or healthcare providers.
The newer Dexcom G6 CGM system comes set up (calibrated) from the factory and is classified in the United States as an “integrated CGM” system; meaning this system can send glucose information directly to certain insulin pumps. The glucose data from both the Dexcom G5 or G6 has been approved by the FDA to be used to make insulin dosing decisions.
Complete information is available at dexcom.com
Guardian Connect System
The Guardian Connect system is available in many countries including the United States and can be used by people managing diabetes as young as 7 years old. The system includes the Guardian Sensor 3 that is inserted in the belly, lower back, or upper arm and the Guardian Connect mobile app to view glucose information. Guardian Connect CGM does not require a separate receiver and will send CGM information directly to a smartphone app (Guardian Connect app).
Advantages include: the capability of setting customized alarms for high, low, or quickly changing glucose levels; the sensor can last up to 7 days; users can view the glucose information using CareLink Personal Software. Information can also be shared with family members or healthcare providers.
The Guardian Connect system uses the same sensor as the hybrid closed-loop system (MiniMed 670G), meaning the sensor can with used with an insulin pump. Currently, the Guardian Connect requires twice daily calibrations and a confirmation by blood glucose meter before taking insulin based on the glucose level. The system also requires users to have a compatible Apple device.
Complete information is available at medtronicdiabetes.com.
Eversense Continuous Glucose Monitoring
The Eversense CGM system is the first implantable CGM with a sensor that lasts up to 3 months in the United States and up to 6 months in certain countries; for people managing diabetes who are 18 years or older. Eversense CGM includes a removable transmitter that sits on top of the skin, and a sensor that is inserted just under the skin of the upper arm. The Eversense Mobile App shows the glucose information rather than using a separate receiver.
Advantages include: a long-lasting sensor that require less frequent changing, alerts for high, low, or quickly changing glucose levels. Information can also be shared with family members or healthcare providers. Currently, the Eversense CGM system requires twice daily calibrations and a confirmation by blood glucose meter before taking insulin based on the glucose level.
Complete information is available at eversensediabetes.com.
Considerations for continuous glucose monitors (CGM)
CGMs can be a very useful for tool for diabetes management. Before selecting a CGM keep these important things in mind:
- CGMs won’t solve diabetes, you will need to continue to monitor medicine, food and exercise.
- There may be times you need to double check your blood glucose by doing a finger stick, but overall you and your healthcare team can use CGM data to adjust your medications.
- Consider the cost. All CGM’s have disposable parts that need to be regularly replaced or upgraded.
- CGM features may have requirements, it is important to explore education and training options for optimal results.
There are several types of CGM’s on the market and it is important to discuss the options with your healthcare team to determine which is best for you.
Edited: November, 2018