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Dexcom’s continuous blood glucose monitoring system helps people living with diabetes track their blood sugar levels. People may find it more convenient than a traditional blood glucose monitor. The device connects to a person’s skin and provides continuous feedback to an app they can download onto their phone or tablet.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based.
Founded in 1999, Dexcom released its first continuous glucose monitor (CGM) in 2006. The company has since made changes and upgrades to its designs. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Medicare have approved the system and devices for various uses.
A person will require a prescription from their doctor.
Though Dexcom highlights positive reviews from several influencers’ on their website, all are “paid spokespersons.”
Trustpilot ratings suggest the brand has a poor reputation. Out of over 30 reviews, they currently have a rating of 2 out of 5 stars. Reviewers mainly complain about poor customer service. Several also mention that the sensors are inaccurate and need constant calibration.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has a similar response from users. Out of over 140 reviews, they have a rating of 1.1 out of 5 stars. The reviews on BBB also mention poor service and inaccurate readings. The company has closed over 160 complaints in the past 3 years.
Dexcom’s CGM system pairs with companion apps to display data in real-time. Their products and services include:
G6 CGM System
The G6 CGM System is Dexcom’s primary product. It includes everything a person needs to monitor their blood sugar levels, including:
- a small device to display data
- app connectivity
The G6 CGM system works by attaching a monitoring device to the skin. The system does not require a person to use finger sticks to get results. Instead, they can access their current levels anytime through the app.
- The transmitter can send alerts to a compatible device.
- The CGM checks blood glucose levels every 5 minutes.
- People do not need to use finger sticks to check their levels.
- It can display data about blood glucose levels on a smartphone or other devices.
- The system can work with an insulin pump.
- Medicare and insurance may cover some of the costs.
- People can use a smartwatch to display the app.
- This type of device is expensive without insurance.
- Medicare users must get the compatible monitoring device from Dexcom if they require coverage, though they can also use their smartphone if they want to.
- If a person’s results do not match symptoms, they will need to do a finger stick test to check their levels.
- A person will need to replace the sensors and transmitters regularly.
Dexcom also has an app for use on both Android and Apple devices. The Clarity Reporting software app displays live data and collects information to display in graphs.
The app also allows the person’s healthcare provider to log in to the individual’s accounts to look at the recorded data.
The app can show data such as:
- glucose average
- how often the person’s blood sugar remained in good or bad ranges
- trends, such as when levels spike or dip
- custom alerts
A person can download the CLARITY app on their phone through their app store or Dexcom’s website here.
Dexcom no longer directly sells their G6 CGM System on their website. They are available at several brick-and-mortar pharmacies, such as Walgreens or CVS, or online at various retailers.
First-time buyers have to create a user account and supply a range of information, including insurance, medical, billing, and shipping details.
Diabetic Warehouse sells both combination transmitter and sensor packs. They also sell a G6 Receiver, which is what Medicare requires. A person can choose to order them separately or in a combination pack. At the time of publication, the combination pack costs around $1,100 and includes one transmitter and three sensors.
A person can order a pack of three sensors from Walmart for a little under $300. Each sensor can last up to 10 days.
Continuous blood glucose monitoring is a relatively new technology, but Dexcom is not the only company that offers it. Other devices include the Freestyle Libre, which the FDA has approved for people who are 18 and older. This device does not require calibration. The Freestyle Libre requires a prescription.
Another alternative is the Medtronic Guardian Connect. This device is approved for people aged 14–75 years but needs calibration 3 to 4 times a day. It also requires a prescription.
Some people may not want to use a CGM to manage their diabetes. If this is the case, a person can use a blood glucose meter. This device requires that a person pricks their finger to get a blood sample that they use to test their blood sugar levels.
A person living with diabetes needs to continually monitor their blood glucose levels to prevent blood sugar from going too high or too low. A CGM, like Dexcom, may help a person manage the condition.
- improving quality of glycemic control
- reducing the risk of hypoglycemia
- permitting selection of lower target levels for average glucose and HbA1c
In other words, a CGM can help someone know when they need more insulin or when they need to eat more to help elevate their levels.
Diet and exercise can also play an essential role in keeping blood sugar at a safe level. The
- lean proteins
- low fat dairy products
- fresh vegetables and fruit
- whole grains
A person should avoid foods that are high in salt, sugar, and saturated fat.
Learn more about the best foods for diabetes here.
Exercise can play an important role in helping a person maintain a moderate weight and manage their blood sugar levels. Physical activity can lower a person’s overall blood sugar levels for up to 24 hours.
For people with a regular exercise routine, a CGM can show how the routine affects their sugar levels, allowing them to make diet adjustments as needed.
A person will need to talk to their doctor before ordering the Dexcom G6 CGM System. Medicare and insurance require a doctor’s prescription.
If a person experiences any unusual symptoms, they should talk with their doctor.
A person should contact Dexcom support if their symptoms and blood sugar readings do not match. This could be a sign the device is not working correctly.
Dexcom’s continuous blood sugar monitoring system allows people to follow their blood sugar trends. It also warns people of potentially dangerously high and low blood sugar levels.
The device is a convenient way for people to monitor their blood sugar, but it can be quite costly even with insurance.
A person should talk with their doctor before ordering the device. A doctor can help them better determine if a CGM device like Dexcom’s can help.