A continuous glucose monitor (CGM) monitors blood sugar (glucose) levels. A CGM can help people with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels. Most people who use a CGM have type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, affecting around
Read on to learn more about CGMs, the importance of tracking glucose levels, who should not use this device, and when to contact a doctor.
A CGM is a small device that takes blood sugar measurements
The advantages of a CGM include the following:
- It allows a person to see trends in their glucose levels over time.
- It enables a person to access their blood glucose information instantly.
- It alerts people if their blood glucose levels are too high or too low.
Every few minutes, the sensor measures the amount of glucose the person has in the fluid between their cells, known as their interstitial glucose level.
The CGM also has a wireless transmitter that sends the glucose data to a monitor. The monitor might be a separate device or on an insulin pump, or a person might carry it in their pocket or purse. Some devices can send the data directly to an app.
Regular blood sugar monitoring is essential for managing type 2 diabetes. It allows a person to see what foods, medicines, or activities increase or decrease their blood glucose levels.
Although continuous glucose monitoring may benefit patients with type 1 diabetes, there more research needs to determine whether it offers similar benefits in people with type 2 diabetes, even if they are taking insulin.
Only adults and children with a doctor’s prescription can get a CGM. Children under
A doctor may prescribe a CGM for a person who:
- is on intensive insulin therapy, known as tight blood sugar control
- cannot tell when their blood glucose decreases and cannot tell when they need to treat it, known as hypoglycemia unawareness.
- often has high or low blood glucose
Some people may only need to wear a CGM for a few days to help them adjust to a new diabetes care plan.
While a CGM can help monitor blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes, it does not replace seeing a doctor.
A person should contact a healthcare professional if they have any questions about the safe use of their CGM or if they are worried about their symptoms.
Common symptoms of high blood sugar include:
- extreme tiredness
- blurred vision
- more frequent urination
Below are some common questions and answers on this topic:
Do I stop using the fingerstick checks to monitor glucose levels?
How much does CGM for type 2 diabetes cost?
There are various costs associated with using a CGM for type 2 diabetes. According to one source, these costs total 2,500–$6,000 annually. They include a flash reading device with a one-off fee, plus replaceable sensors that can cost anywhere from 120–$200 a month.
Other devices cost 1,000–$1,400, with replaceable sensors costing 35–$100 every 7–10 days. Additionally, replacement batteries can cost around $500 a year.
Does insurance cover the costs?
A person receiving insulin through a pump or multiple daily injections and requiring at least four fingerstick glucose tests daily can get a CGM using Medicare. If a person’s insurance company covers the cost, they may need to see specific documentation, including a letter stating that the CGM is medically necessary.
People with type 2 diabetes have difficulty controlling their blood sugar. Blood glucose monitoring is important in helping a person understand what foods and medicines raise or lower their blood sugar.
The advantages of a CGM include instant access to blood glucose information and the ability to chart levels over time.
However, using a CGM does not replace visiting a doctor.