Diabetes Management: How to Use Continuous Glucose Monitoring Devices

Treatment Care & Tips

Why Continuous Glucose Monitoring May be Right for You

Monitoring your blood sugar levels can be challenging for people with diabetes. Sticking your finger 3-5 times per day is not always easy. However, regular testing can help you to keep your blood sugar levels under control.

If you have diabetes, take insulin and check your blood sugar multiple times a day, Continuous Glucose Monitoring, also called a CGM, may be right for you. These devices track your blood sugar throughout the day and night, decreasing the number of finger sticks. You can see your sugar level anytime at a glance on handheld devices that wirelessly connect. You can also see trends in how your sugar levels change over a few hours or days. Seeing sugar levels in real time can help you and your doctor make better decisions throughout the day. For example, it can help you balance your food, physical activity and medicines.


Benefits of a Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) System

Following are the benefits of a CGM device:

  • Using a CGM system can help you understand your daily sugar levels to better manage your diabetes.
  • You may have fewer low blood sugar emergencies like low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
  • You won’t need to stick your finger as often.
  • A simple graphic on a CGM screen shows whether your sugar is rising or dropping—and how quickly—so you can choose the best way to stay in your target sugar range.
  • Good diabetes management greatly helps you stay healthy and prevent complications of the disease.


How Do CGM Devices Work?

The device, often the size of a quarter or small rectangle, is placed on your arm or belly. The device has a tiny sensor that goes into your skin to check your sugar levels. (Don’t worry, you cannot feel it inside you!). The sensor reads your sugar levels every few minutes. A transmitter wirelessly sends the information to the CGM monitor. The monitor may be a separate device, part of an insulin pump, or even your smartphone or tablet.


CGMs are always on and checking your sugar levels whether you’re showering, working, exercising or sleeping. Many CGMs have special features, like:

  • An alarm can sound when your sugar level goes too low or too high.
  • You can note your meals, physical activity, and medicines.
  • You can download data to a computer or smart device to more easily see your blood sugar trends.


Some CGM models can send information right away to a second person’s smartphone—perhaps a parent, partner or caregiver. For example, if a child’s sugar drops low overnight, the CGM could be set to wake a parent in the next room.


It’s important to take action when a CGM alarm sounds about high or low blood sugar. You should follow your treatment plan to bring your glucose into the target range or get help.


You’ll also need to replace the CGM sensor. Models vary, some are every 3-7 days other may be longer.


Who can use a CGM?

CGMs are approved for use by adults and children with a doctor’s prescription. Some models may be used for children as young as age 2. Your doctor may recommend a CGM if you or your child:


Most people who use CGM devices have type 1 diabetes. People who are taking multiple daily injections of insulin and check their blood sugar multiple times a day may benefit from a CGM device.


Contact your doctor to see if a CGM is right for you or your child. A Gateway Health Plan representative can tell you if a continuous glucose monitor is covered under your plan. Contact us: https://www.gatewayhealthplan.com/contact.

  1. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/managing-diabetes/continuous-sugar-monitoring


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