What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a health condition that arises from the presence of excess blood sugar or glucose in the blood. During digestion, food is broken down into absorbable forms, one of which is glucose. In a functional system, this glucose is absorbed into the cells from the blood, with the help of insulin – a hormone produced by the pancreas. There are two main types of diabetes; Type 1 diabetes, where the pancreas does not produce insulin and Type 2 diabetes, where the body fails to properly use the insulin produced by the pancreas. In both cases, glucose cannot be absorbed into the body cells, leading to a buildup of glucose in the blood. This buildup leads to serious negative health complications, if not immediately attended to. For someone living with diabetes, maintaining balanced blood glucose levels through structured dieting, adequate physical activity and medications, is key. Having real-time knowledge of glucose levels in the blood at all times, helps with making informed decisions on how to manage diabetes. Thanks to rapidly evolving technology, such real-time data is easily obtained through a process termed Continuous Glucose monitoring (CGM).
What is Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM)?
Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) is simply the process of closely observing blood sugar levels to ensure its stability. This process is achieved with the help of a wearable device called a Continuous Glucose Monitor. How does CGM work?
- The CGM device is a miniature wearable device equipped with a tiny sensor, inserted under the skin on the abdomen or the arm
- It automatically tests fluids in the skin at set intervals, to track blood glucose levels
- After testing the fluid sample, the device relays the data to a smartphone, tablet, insulin pump, or other digital devices
- The data collected from the CGM device is used by a GluCare.Health care team to make prescriptions on insulin administration and give advice on lifestyle adjustments to help manage the condition
- Some CGM devices are fitted with alarm systems that can be triggered when blood glucose levels are at abnormal extremes
- Finger stick tests have multiple beneficial applications as an additional accuracy ensuring backup to CGM. In some cases, it is used to calibrate a CGM device before first use, and periodically during its use. In certain situations when a patient might have health challenges despite getting good readings from the CGM device, or a device might show wildly uncertain readings, a finger stick test might be necessary to ensure the accuracy of these readings
- For a majority of CGM devices, the physician first has to confirm current blood glucose levels by conducting a finger stick test, before prescriptions can be made on the required dosage of insulin to be administered. However, CGM devices such as the Dexcom G6, and Abbott Freestyle Libre 2 sensor available at GluCare.Health, provide accurate results that can be relied upon for insulin prescriptions.
- The CGM’s measures a parameter called ‘Time-in-range-TIR’ which is the time your blood glucose is within the ranges of 70-180 mg/dL. TIR should be greater than 70% for diabetics, and at GluCare.Health, on average, our patients ‘Time-in-range’ exceed the minimum 70% threshold.
At GluCare.Health, our team of physicians provide round the clock remote monitoring of our prescribed CGM devices to better respond to emergency situations, and advice on beneficial lifestyle practices for effective management of diabetes.
Why is CGM necessary?
Before the introduction of CGM, the main method of monitoring blood glucose levels was through a process known as finger sticking, which involved pricking the finger to draw blood for periodic blood tests. The regularity of this process on a daily basis, came with noted discomfort, which has largely been remedied by CGM. Engaging in CGM helps diabetics manage their lifestyle, diet, and activities better. Knowledge of the effects our choices have on our body leaves us better equipped to make healthier decisions. At GluCare.Health, our physicians advise on the effective use of CGM, which puts a diabetic in a much better position to experience far fewer blood glucose emergencies. Good management of glucose levels has positive long-term impacts on the general health of diabetics, and keeps complications from the health condition at bay.