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Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs)

What They Do: Continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) monitor the body’s glucose levels in real-time by sensing the glucose present in tissue fluid (also called interstitial fluid). Glucose is another word for sugar. Whereas a meter provides a measurement of the blood glucose at a specific moment in time, a CGM provides an overview of the blood glucose levels over a period of time. An apt analogy is that a meter is similar to a photo – providing a single blood sugar “snap shot.” A CGM, however, is like a video, providing a constant stream of information on your glucose levels throughout the day. CGMs provide a good way to monitor time spent “in range” (time spent within a normal, pre-specified blood sugar range), and can warn users if they are trending towards hypo or hyperglycemia. They are particularly useful at night, as they can sound an alert if glucose levels drop. CGMs typically need to be calibrated with a fingerstick blood sugar reading for optimal sensor accuracy.

What Supplies Do I Need?

CGMs require three basic parts:

  • Sensor – monitors glucose levels, inserted under the skin

  • Transmitter – sends glucose information to the receiver, attached to body

  • Receiver – displays glucose level trends. For some products (e.g. Dexcom CGM), the patient carries the receiver (which is not attached to the body). For others (e.g. Medtronic Paradigm/MiniMed CGMs), the CGM is combined with an insulin pump

Useful Links:

What’s Coming in CGM Technology in 2016 and Beyond? –  Dexcom’s new insertion, Android G5, touchscreen receiver; Medtronic’s Android MiniMed Connect, Hypo Prediction App, 670G, and Guardian Connect.

TEST DRIVE: Dexcom G5 Mobile - CGM on Your Phone, Receiver Optional – More flexible data viewing, customizable alarms, excellent Clarity analysis software, and why expectations are so high.

Beyond the Numbers: Continuous Monitors Offer Much More Than Blood Glucose Readings – Gary Scheiner (M.S., CDE) explains the benefits that CGM bring over standard blood glucose meters.

TEST DRIVE: Adam and Kelly Test Dexcom's G4 Platinum CGM – A report on Adam’s and Kelly’s experience with Dexcom’s G4 Platinum CGM, plus a comparison to the Seven Plus CGM.

TEST DRIVE: Adam Tests the Medtronic Minimed 530G and the Enlite CGM – An in-depth analysis and comparison of the Enlite CGM and how it compares to Dexcom’s G4 Platinum.

TEST DRIVE: Animas Vibe Brings Dexcom CGM Onto the Pump Screen –  A look at the first insulin pump integrated with the Dexcom G4 Platinum CGM. Plus, a guide to choosing between insulin pumps!

Up Close with Medtronic's New MiniMed 640G System in Europe – Exciting updates on Medtronic's MiniMed 640G system and Enhanced Enlite CGM (“Enlite 2”) at this year’s ATTD Conference in Paris.

FDA Approved Tandem t:slim G4, Bringing CGM to the Touchscreen Pump – Patients must decide between data on the phone or pump.

Remote Monitoring of CGM Data

Remote monitoring allows for a person’s blood glucose numbers or CGM data to be shared with others . While several meters allow for data uploading, only recently has remote monitoring been a possibility for CGM devices. Remote monitoring can give peace of mind to loved ones. For example, a traveling spouse could share their CGM data with family at home, a child at a sleepover could share with his/her parents, or a patient can send updates directly to a health care provider.

Useful Links:

Nightscout Bringing CGM to the Cloud – SixUntilMe Blogger Kerri Sparling gives an overview of the what, why, and how of the Nightscout project and CGM remote monitoring.

TEST DRIVE: Adam Tests the Dexcom Share – A first-hand look at the pros and cons of this remote monitoring system.

Dexcom G4 Platinum Share Receiver Approved – the new device will include built-in Bluetooth to enable wireless communication with the Dexcom Share app on a nearby iPhone/iPod touch.

Medtronic's MiniMed Connect - Enabling Smartphone Viewing of CGM and Pump Data – $199 keychain device available for patients with Apple iPhone and iPod Touch.

*Please note, this page is not a comprehensive list of all of the available resources or products available. All links are organized chronologically within their respective sections.