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The Dexcom G6 is a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system. These devices sit on or under the skin and monitor glucose in the fluid between cells. They then transfer the data to an app or smart device, allowing people to track their glucose levels.

A CGM system may help people with diabetes or prediabetes to monitor and track their glucose levels, thus helping them to manage their condition more effectively.

This article reviews the Dexcom G6 CGM and provides a brief overview of some alternative brands available on the market.

Dexcom is a company that specializes in diabetes care technology. The company creates devices and technology that enable people with diabetes to monitor their glucose levels and manage their condition more effectively.

Learn more about Dexcom.

Dexcom has been in business since 1991. In more recent years, the company has utilized mobile apps and smart fitness devices to expand how people with diabetes can monitor and manage their glucose levels.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the G6 device in 2018. The device is suitable for all individuals with diabetes, including children as young as 2 years of age.

At the time of publishing, Dexcom has mixed customer reviews on review sites, such as Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Positive user reviews rate the company’s technology as good or excellent, while negative reviews primarily outline issues with the following:

  • inaccurate readings
  • faulty sensors or transmitters
  • insurance coverage
  • delivery and reordering
  • customer service

Dexcom does not currently hold accreditation with the BBB and has an F rating on the review platform. According to the BBB, Dexcom has not responded to 14 customer complaints and has failed to resolve another five.

On average, customers on Trustpilot rated Dexcom 1.8 out of 5 stars, while customers on the BBB rated Dexcom 1.14 out of 5 stars.

The Dexcom G6 is a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system that allows people to monitor and track their glucose levels without performing a standard finger prick test.

How it monitors glucose

The Dexcom G6 CGM System uses a water-resistant sensor to assess interstitial glucose levels, which is the glucose that exists in the fluid between the body’s cells.

The system includes an auto-applicator that people use to insert a glucose sensor just beneath the skin of their buttocks, upper arm, or abdomen. Users must insert the sensor at a site at least 3 inches away from their insulin puff infusion set or injection site.

To insert the sensor, users must:

  • Remove the label.
  • Place the adhesive side of the applicator on the skin.
  • Press an orange button to insert the sensor.

People can place the sensor on the following body areas:

  • Upper buttocks: According to the company, this area is suitable for children aged 2–17 years.
  • Back of the upper arm: Dexcom states this area may be more suitable for active people.
  • Abdomen: Dexcom suggests the sensor is more discreet if individuals place it on the abdomen.

Around 84% of Dexcom users report that inserting the sensor is not painful.

How it tracks glucose

The sensor uses a transmitter to send data wirelessly to a compatible iOS or Android smart device. People can attach the transmitter by inserting the transmitter tab into the slot.

After 2 hours, the mobile app will begin displaying a person’s glucose results on a graph. The graph indicates to people when their glucose levels are high or low, alongside an arrow showing the direction of these levels. The display features up to 24 hours of data at once.

Users can also see their real-time glucose levels, and the app will alert users when their glucose levels are low.

Below is some additional information about the Dexcom G6.

Compatibility

The Dexcom G6 app is compatible with both iOS and Android devices. 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%.

Data sharing

Users can share all or part of their blood glucose data with up to 10 “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.

The Dexcom G6 may benefit people who want to consistently monitor their glucose levels. This may include people with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, or prediabetes. Using a CGM system negates the need for standard finger prick testing, which can be both invasive and cumbersome.

The product may be particularly useful for caregivers of children and teenagers with diabetes, as it allows 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 statistically significant improvement in glycemic control in adolescents and young adults with type 1 diabetes.

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

The Dexcom G6 may not be suitable for people with severe diabetes. Many reviews on TrustPilot report large inaccuracies between readings with the Dexcom G6 device and more standard finger prick tests.

The benefits of the Dexcom G6 include:

  • negating the need for finger prick tests
  • offering consistent glucose monitoring
  • compatibility with iOS and Android
  • offering the ability to share data with up to 10 people, including health professionals
  • a 1-year warranty
  • coverage by some insurance providers

The drawbacks of the Dexcom G6 include:

  • not catering to children younger than 2 years of age
  • having sensors that only last for 10 days before requiring replacement
  • producing inaccurate glucose readings, according to many reviewers
  • showcasing paid spokespersons on its website

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 benefits check for people who are 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. A person may then receive their device from their insurance provider or an approved pharmacy.

Individuals with Medicare can also purchase Dexcom G6 subject to qualifying criteria. They can then collect the device from Walgreens or participating distributors.

Dexcom states that people should receive the device within 3 days of making the order.

Several other CGMs offer a similar service to the Dexcom G6. Some examples are outlined below.

Eversense by Senseonics

The Eversense system offers glucose monitoring for up to 6 months. It requires a healthcare professional to implant the sensor under the skin, after which the user fits the water-resistant and rechargeable transmitter.

The device sends alerts directly to its in-built display, so there is no need to use a mobile device.

Similar to the G6, users can share their data with friends, family, and healthcare professionals.

The device is only suitable for adults aged 18 years and over.

In 2018, Senseonics sent a submission to the FDA, stating that Eversense had a MARD of 8.5%.

Freestyle Libre 2 by Abbott

The Freestyle Libre 2 by Abbott offers 14-day wearable tracking for adults and children as young as 4 years of age. It also features optional glucose alarms to let users know when their glucose levels are too high or too low.

The device allows users to:

  • scan through their clothing
  • share their data
  • monitor individual glucose trends
  • access their glucose levels via the dedicated reader or their mobile device.

According to the manufacturer of the product, the Freestyle Libre 2 has a MARD of 9.3%.

Guardian Connect by Medtronic

The Guardian Connect by Medtronic offers reports showing trends in glucose levels. Users can view these on their mobile device and share them with healthcare professionals.

The device also predicts when glucose levels may become too high or too low, so people can proactively manage their diabetes.

Users need to change the Guardian Connect sensor every 6 days, although the transmitter is rechargeable.

The Guardian Connect is reportedly Medtronic’s most accurate sensor, with a MARD of 8.7%.

Below is a table showing how the Dexcom G6 compares with the above alternatives.

Dexcom G6Eversense by SenseonicsFreestyle Libre 2 by AbbottGuardian Connect by Medtronic
Invasivenoyesnono
Requires healthcare professional for sensor installationnoyesnono
Minimum age of use2 years old18 years old4 years old14 years old
MARD (lower is better)9%8.5%9.3%8.7%
Sensor lifetime10 days6 months14 days6 days
Glucose alarmsyesyesyesyes
Rechargeable transmitternoyesyesyes
Android compatibilityyesyesyesyes
iOS compatibilityyesyesyesyes
Health data sharingyesyesyesyes
Private insurance coverageyesyesyesyes
Medicare coverageyesyesyesyes

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 37 million people in the United States have diabetes. The condition is the seventh leading cause of death in the country.

Diabetes management requires a proactive approach. As such, individuals with diabetes should follow these lifestyle habits:

  • checking blood sugar levels several times a day
  • examining the feet to help reduce diabetes complications involving the feet
  • taking daily medication to manage diabetes, such as oral or injectable medications
  • performing at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity every week
  • following a balanced diet that helps stabilize blood sugar levels

People with type 2 diabetes should also consider switching to a low carbohydrate or keto diet. Doing so could potentially reverse the condition and restore healthy insulin levels.

A healthcare professional can also assist a person in proactively managing their condition. A doctor can draw up an achievable and effective personalized plan for diet and exercise. Doctors can also tailor and adapt treatment plans and medications according to trends in a person’s glucose levels.

Learn more about managing diabetes.

According to the CDC, 1 in 5 people with diabetes are unaware that they have the condition. Anyone with the following symptoms should contact a doctor for further tests:

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

Below are some answers to frequently asked questions about the Dexcom G6.

How long can you wear a Dexcom G6?

The Dexcom G6 sensor requires changing every 10 days. The transmitter is not rechargeable and lasts for around 3 months.

How do you shower with a Dexcom?

The Dexcom G6 has waterproof sensors, meaning a person can shower while wearing the device.

How do I stop my Dexcom from falling off?

The Dexcom website suggests using liquid adhesive agents, patches, or tapes to keep the sensor from falling off, especially when showering or swimming.

What is the average cost of the Dexcom G6?

The Dexcom G6 comes with an upfront cost as well as replacements for sensors and transmitters. Considering this, a person without insurance coverage can expect to pay around $500 per month or $6000 per year.

The Dexcom G6 is a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system that allows people with diabetes or prediabetes to continuously monitor and proactively manage their blood glucose levels. The product is one of several such devices available on the United States market.

A CGM system is less invasive and cumbersome than standard finger prick tests to assess glucose levels. However, CGM may not be as accurate as finger prick testing.

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.