Maintaining good blood glucose control is the most powerful tool in preventing diabetes complications. Many people use a blood glucose meter to check their blood sugar level. Others may chose to use a continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS) in addition to their glucose meters.
A CGMS tests your blood glucose levels every 5 7 minutes throughout the day. It can be used by people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. There are several different devices on the market today. Most feature a disposable sensor worn on the body. The sensor includes a tiny wire that pokes through the skin and measures glucose levels in the cellular fluid, and can be worn for approximately 72 or more hours before it requires changing. While inserted, the sensor wirelessly transmits blood glucose readings to a receiver about the size of a PDA or to the pump, and the receiver displays the results.
A CGMS will not replace the need for standard blood glucose meters. They need to be calibrated with conventional finger stick testing and the results of a continuous system must be periodically compared against a glucose meter for accuracy. However, a CGMS can help a person with diabetes understand blood glucose trends and can warn people who experience hypoglycemic unawareness when their blood sugar drops too low.
Talk to your doctor about whether or not a CGMS is right for you.
Reviewed by Francine Kaufman, MD. 4/08
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