Your Guide To Continuous Glucose Monitoring – Forbes Health – Forbes
Although a CGM may provide a bigger picture of your blood sugar trends over a 24-hour period, it isn’t a solution for everyone. “It’s extremely important for people to know that just because they want CGMs, for convenience, does not mean they are eligible candidates,” says Dr Kim. “Sometimes, depending on individual health insurance, CGMs may not be covered and generally have higher out-of-pocket costs than standard blood glucose monitoring devices.”
“Another limitation is that the glucose values from CGMs are interstitial fluid glucose measurements and may not be reliable because of body fluid shifts,” she adds. Interstitial fluid (ISF) is located in the subcutaneous adipose tissue and serves as a transportation medium between glucose and cells, according to a 2017 analysis published in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology.
With CGM, the ISF glucose levels may not always match the actual blood sugar levels. This is why it’s important to use CGM as a supplement to, and not a replacement for, finger-stick blood sugar testing. “There can be lags in glucose values between interstitial results of (CGM) and capillary results (finger-sticks),” notes Dr. Kim.
Other drawbacks of CGM include:
- CGM doesn’t eliminate the need for traditional finger-stick blood glucose tests. Your blood sugar may need to be checked twice per day using finger-stick methods to ensure accuracy.
- Depending on the model, most CGM sensors need to be replaced every three to 7 days, which can be expensive.
- The use of acetaminophen, found in Tylenol, may cause false high readings.
- False low readings may occur when sleeping on the sensor.
- CGM devices require a technical understanding and the ability to interpret CGM readings and data, which may be difficult for non-tech savvy users.
- Routine maintenance may be needed, depending on the model.
“While CGM is an evolving and wonderful technology that adds to the options for diabetes care, it remains vital that patients adhere to a healthy diet, healthy physical, mental and social lifestyles and continued care with their doctor,” says Dr. Kim. “Additionally, learning how to use CGM and understanding how to interpret the data in a clinically meaningful way takes time.”