Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) gives information about your glucose levels every few minutes. You can easily track whether your glucose is high or low, stable, rising or falling. You can also see how your glucose levels vary. For example you can track what happens while you are sleeping, after you eat, when you exercise, or when you are feeling unwell. The information is particularly helpful if you take insulin as you can match your insulin more easily to your needs.
There is a growing body of research that suggests CGM can help reduce A1C without increasing the risk of hypoglycemia. (See our research section for more information). In October 2011 the Endocrine Society issued a new clinical guideline. They concluded that there is high quality evidence that CGM can be a beneficial tool to help maintain target blood glucose levels, and limit the risk of hypoglycaemia in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes who are at least eight years old, and in adults with type 1 diabetes as well if used on a daily basis.
CGM is a relatively new technology. Results are not 100% accurate, and consequently it is important to also use blood stick testing. CGM is more expensive than existing systems which monitor blood glucose, and is not generally available on the NHS.
CGM is potentially useful to anyone with diabetes but is especially useful if you use insulin. CGM can be very helpful to people on multiple daily injections as well as to pump users. Some CGM users report their CGM is as beneficial to their glucose control as having a pump. It helps if you are motivated as CGM takes a while to get used to, and is not always straightforward to use. It’s also worth remembering that you’ll still have to do finger stick blood tests as well. Indeed some people using CGM say they do more finger stick tests than they used to!