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Important Readings: Who should Monitor their Glucose Levels & How does it Work?

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Continuous blood Glucose Monitoring (CGM) is vital for achieving target glucose levels for most people living with diabetes. A diabetic undertaking consistent self-monitoring with a blood glucose meter is a highly efficient way of assessing and comprehending their blood glucose levels.

CGM using blood glucose monitors is an effective method that can be undertaken numerous times a day for the diabetic to understand contextual changes in glucose levels surrounding factors like foods eaten, physical activity and the effect of any medications they are taking for the condition.

People who need to test regularly stand to gain the most benefit from a CGM as they can provide ongoing, targeted readings throughout the day.

It is recommended that people utilise CGM if:

  • They are undergoing insulin therapy.
  • They have hypoglycemia unawareness.
  • And, They have consistent low or high blood glucose.

The patient will require a doctor’s prescription to receive a CGM and the age range for use of CGMs varies but some systems can now be used to monitor the blood glucose levels of children.

How do CGMs & Blood Glucose Monitoring Work?

CGM systems contain three main components to take a blood glucose reading: the sensor, transmitter and receiver.

Let’s take a look at how they combine to take a blood glucose reading:

  1. Sensor: The sensor is an ultra-thin filament or wire, which is then inserted into the patient’s skin with the help of a needle. The sensor is usually applied to the back of the arm, the abdomen or other parts of the body if the manufacturer’s directions vary.

In order for the sensor to remain in place, a sticky backing, something like a band-aid, holds the sensor to the skin. The sensor uses similar enzymes as a test strip for a glucose meter, and its job is to detect glucose levels in the interstitial fluid, the fluid found between the body’s cells. Sensors can stay in place for multiple days, but the manufacturer’s specifications will say how long it should stay there. The receiver component will generally alert the patient when it’s time to replace the sensor.

  1. Transmitter: The transmitter works like the in-between point for the sensor and receiver. It attaches to the area where the sensor was inserted into the skin. From here, it can send information to the receiver via radio waves. Some receivers require no charging but have to be replaced every few months whilst others can be charged and reused.
  2. Receiver: The receiver works to take on and display the information provided by the sensor. It contains a screen where you can view your past readings as well as check your current reading. The receiver also provides warnings if the patient’s glucose reading is too low or high, displays trend information, helps the patient understand glucose level fluctuations and delivers status messages.Some cutting-edge CGMs have Bluetooth® capability so they can send readings straight to the patient’s smartphone or tablet. The apps that come with CGMs often contain a host of additional features, including trends, graphs and the ability to share information with caretakers and family.

Blood glucose monitors are a handy tool for a diabetic who requires continuous, ongoing blood glucose level analysis. They can help the diabetic person understand their glucose levels, tell them if they are too low or high and display other information that can assist them with reaching target glucose levels.

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