Physicians are able to help their patients taking insulin manage their diabetes by reviewing home blood sugar readings. With diabetes on the rise and the increased risk of cardiovascular disease and infections as a result of this chronic illness, patients are encouraged to maintain well-controlled blood sugar readings and achieve desired hemoglobin A1C results.
Blood Glucose Meters (BGM) have been used for years to monitor blood sugar levels. The first home meter used by patients was developed in the 1980’s. This meter requires a specimen of blood to be exposed to an enzyme on a test strip. The enzyme oxidizes the blood. An electrode reads the current of the oxidized blood which equates to the amount of oxidized glucose. This process can be quite cumbersome and time-consuming especially for children and busy working adults. Moreover, the meter only provides a blood sugar reading for a single moment in time.
Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGM) on the other hand offers nearly 24/7 blood sugar monitoring. CGM’s have enabled patients to track their blood sugar levels easily, continuously, and accurately in addition to sharing this information with their physicians remotely. Patients no longer have to prick their finger with a needle and insert their blood sample on a test strip that is placed into a blood glucose meter.
Diabetics can now simply wear a device on their upper arm, receive real-time information on blood sugar fluctuations, respond to abnormal blood sugar readings, and share this data with their physicians.
Diabetes is a condition that occurs when blood sugar levels are too high as a result of the body’s inability to properly respond to sugar released from food. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates blood sugar levels. In Type II diabetes the pancreas produces little to no insulin and in Type II diabetes the body is resistant to the insulin produced.
Therefore, Type I diabetics must take insulin to control their blood sugar and certain Type II diabetics must take insulin as well when oral medication proves ineffective. The use of insulin requires frequent monitoring of blood sugar levels to ensure the right dose of insulin is being administered as well as to monitor and address blood sugar levels that are too high or low.
Dexcom G6 CGM System includes a small device worn on the upper arm. This device has a sensor inserted right beneath the skin that checks blood sugar levels every 5 minutes. The second component covers the sensor. It works as a transmitter receiving wireless data from the sensor. The transmitter sends this data to the third component, an external receiver where this data can be analyzed. The data can also be viewed on a compatible smart device. The sensor can be worn for up to 10 days. Using an app, this system has the ability to customize blood sugar alerts based on predetermined blood sugar ranges.
This aspect of the Dexcom G6 helps reduce frequent episodes of hypoglycemia and is of particular value in persons who are unable to prick their finger during the day using a blood glucose meter or those who do not have warning symptoms of hypoglycemia until it is too late. Children can definitely take advantage of another aspect of the Dexcom CGM which is allowing the user to share their readings with five others. Parents would be able to assist the child in managing their blood sugar levels.
The trends are communicated using color-coded arrows to specify rapid rise, slow rise, or in normal range. Shared users would also be able to receive alerts and remind the user to take action and respond to blood sugar readings that are too high or too low. 24/7 blood glucose monitoring also removes the need to wake up in the middle of the night to check blood sugar levels. Having more readings throughout the day leads to better management of diabetes and thus lower hemoglobin A1C values.