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The Dexcom G6 is a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system that can help track a person’s glucose levels. With the G6, people can check their glucose levels through an app on a compatible smart device.

People with diabetes may use a CGM system to help track their glucose levels and manage diabetes more effectively. This article examines one of these systems, the Dexcom G6 CGM, along with a brief overview of a few alternatives.

Dexcom is a company that specializes in diabetes care technology. It creates devices and technology that enable people with the condition to monitor their glucose levels in real time, allowing them to manage their condition more effectively.

Learn more about Dexcom.

Dexcom has been in business since 1991 and has utilized technology, such as mobile apps and smart fitness devices, to expand how people with diabetes can monitor and view their glucose levels. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the G6 device in 2018, and it is suitable for all individuals with diabetes, including children as young as 2 years old.

At the time of publishing, customer reviews of Dexcom on review sites, such as Trustpilot and Better Business Bureau (BBB), are mixed. Additionally, Dexcom does not currently hold accreditation with the BBB, and it has a D- grade rating on the review platform.

While many users rate the company’s technology as good or excellent, many rate its customer service, reordering, insurance, and delivery as poor. Additionally, on average, customers rated the company 1.8 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot and 1.13 out of 5 stars on the BBB.

Positive user reviews mention the G6 is an excellent product that can be reliable and accurate. However, negative reviews outline issues with inaccuracy, faulty sensors or transmitters, and insurance coverage.

The Dexcom G6 is a CGM system. People do not need to perform a finger prick test to check their glucose levels with the device.

The Dexcom G6 may benefit any person with diabetes. The product may be particularly useful for caregivers of children and teenagers with diabetes, allowing them to monitor a child’s glucose levels and safeguard their health more effectively. For example, a 2020 randomized clinical trial found that continuous CGM systems offered a small but statistical improvement in glycemic control in adolescents and young adults.

However, it is important to note that the study’s researchers disclosed conflicts of interest. The scientists received grants, fees, and nonfinancial support from Dexcom and other companies and institutions to conduct the study.

How it works

According to the Dexcom website, the G6 CGM System allows users to see their glucose data using a water-resistant sensor.

People use the auto-applicator to insert a sensor just beneath the skin. Individuals can reportedly place the sensor on the following body areas:

  • Upper buttocks: According to the company, this area is suitable for children who are 2–17 years old.
  • Back of the upper arm: The company states this area may be more suitable for people who are active. This placement is appropriate for those over the age of 2 years.
  • Abdomen: Dexcom suggests the sensor is more discreet if individuals place it on the abdomen. This placement is suitable for individuals aged 2 years and above.

People need to replace the G6 sensor every 10 days. The sensor sends data wirelessly to a compatible iOS or Android smart device through a transmitter.

Users insert the sensor at a site at least 3 inches away from their insulin puff infusion set or injection site. After removing the label, they place the adhesive side of the applicator on the skin and press an orange button to insert the sensor. Of Dexcom G6 users, 84% report that inserting the applicator is not painful. Next, people can attach the transmitter by inserting the transmitter tab into the slot.

After 2 hours, the GP mobile app will start to show glucose results on a graph. Users can see up to 24 hours of data at once, as well as their current real-time glucose level. The display graph indicates to people when their glucose levels are high or low, alongside an arrow showing the movement of these levels. The app will also alert users when their glucose levels are low.

Sharing data

Users can share all or part of their blood glucose data with up to ten “followers.” This can be useful for parents, guardians, or caregivers of those with diabetes. People can also share their data with their healthcare professionals through Dexcom’s Clarity software.

Compatibility

Both iOS and Android devices are compatible with the Dexcom G6 app. The company provides a full list of compatible devices on its website.

Accuracy

CGM data metrics use a system called mean absolute relative difference (MARD). This is the most common metric for assessing the accuracy of CGM systems compared to the reference glucose value when using a metering system. The lower the figure, the more accurate the CGM system. According to the Dexcom website and associated 2019 clinical trial, the G6 has a MARD of 9%.

To order a Dexcom G6, people can fill out a form on the company’s website and include their insurance information. Dexcom provides a free insurance benefit check if an individual is unsure whether their insurance covers the device.

If the company does not have a contract with a particular insurance provider, Dexcom may refer a person to an in-network distributor partner to offer the lowest available price.

An individual may then receive their device from their insurance provider or an approved pharmacy.

Several other CGMs offer a similar service to the Dexcom G6, including:

Eversense by Senseonics

The Eversense system offers glucose monitoring for up to 90 days. It requires a healthcare professional to implant the sensor under the skin before a user fits the water-resistant and rechargeable transmitter. The device sends alerts directly to its in-built display, so users do not need to use a mobile device. Similar to the G6, people can share their data with friends, family, and their healthcare provider. It is only suitable for adults aged 18 years and over. A 2018 submission by Senseonics to the FDA stated that Eversense had a MARD of 8.5%.

Freestyle Libre 2 by Abbott

This device offers 14-day wearable tracking for adults and children as young as 4 years old. It also features optional glucose alarms to let users know when their glucose levels are too high or too low. Users can scan through their clothing, share their data, monitor trends, and access their glucose levels via the dedicated reader or their mobile device. According to its manufacturer, Abbott, the Freestyle Libre 2 has a MARD of 9.3%.

Guardian Connect by Medtronic

Users need to change the Guardian Connect sensor every 6 days, although the transmitter is rechargeable. The system offers reports showing trends and patterns of glucose levels that a user can view on their mobile device and share with their healthcare provider. It also predicts when glucose levels may become too high or too low, so people can proactively manage their diabetes. The Guardian Connect is reportedly Medtronic’s most accurate sensor, with a MARD of 8.7%.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 34 million people in the United States have diabetes. The condition is the seventh leading cause of death in the country.

Diabetes requires a proactive approach from people with the condition as well as treatment from healthcare professionals. As such, individuals with diabetes should follow these lifestyle habits every day:

  • checking blood sugar levels several times a day
  • examining their feet to help reduce complications in the feet due to diabetes
  • taking daily medication, including oral medications and injections
  • doing at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity every week
  • following a balanced diet that helps stabilize blood sugar levels

Working with a healthcare professional to assist in proactively managing their diabetes can also help people with the condition keep it under control. A doctor can provide expert advice on diet, lifestyle, and exercise, with achievable and effective personalized plans. They can also tailor and adapt those plans, as well as diabetes medication, by examining a person’s glucose levels.

Learn more about managing diabetes.

According to the CDC, 1 in 5 people with diabetes do not know they have this condition. Anyone with the following symptoms should contact a doctor for further tests:

  • frequently feeling very thirsty or hungry
  • urinating more often than usual, particularly at night
  • feeling more tired than usual
  • unintended weight loss or loss of muscle
  • penile or vaginal itching or frequent yeast infections
  • wounds that are slow to heal
  • blurry vision
  • numb or tingling hands and feet
  • dry skin

A healthcare professional can conduct tests to diagnose diabetes and work with a person to create a treatment plan.

CGM systems, such as Dexcom G6, can be a useful tool in helping people with diabetes proactively manage their condition. There are several CGM systems available for those with diabetes to try. However, their suitability may depend on their compatibility with certain devices and their age.

CGM systems may provide extra reassurance and visibility to the parents and caregivers of children and adolescents with diabetes.

Please note: Medical News Today does not imply warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or endorse any of these applications. Nobody at MNT has evaluated these apps for medical accuracy. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved them unless otherwise indicated.