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FreeStyle Libre is a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system. It uses a sensor to read and check a person’s glucose levels. It is a device that people with diabetes can use to help manage the condition.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based.

FreeStyle Libre is a product that the healthcare company Abbott makes. The company’s headquarters are in Illinois, and it makes various medical devices and health-related products.

Abbott has an average customer rating of 1.5 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot, with 77% of the reviews only awarding the company 1 star. Many of these negative reviews mention poor customer service.

At the time of publishing, only 8% of the 490 reviews give the company 4 or 5 stars. These reviews say that the company is reputable and that the products are of good quality.

Abbott also has a Better Business Bureau (BBB) page, but it does not have BBB accreditation. The company has an average customer rating of 1 out of 5 stars and an overall grade of B. It has closed 39 complaints in the last 3 years.

The FreeStyle Libre is a type of integrated continuous glucose monitoring system (iCGM). It takes readings via a sensor on the arm or belly — depending on where a person places the device. It then automatically transmits them to a handheld receiver.

The company claims that its sensors are comfortable to wear and less bulky than other brands of CGM sensors.

They also say that this sensor provides a reading every minute and has a life span of 14 days. People can apply this sensor without the help of a medical professional.

This model is suitable for any adult or child aged 4 years and above.

Each FreeStyle Libre comes with a compatible reader. A person simply scans the sensor with the reader, and the details will appear on the screen. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved both the sensor and reader. However, the FDA is currently reviewing a compatible smartphone app that will allow customers to view readings on their phones instead.

There are also optional alarm notifications. A person can customize these alarms and choose which they would like to receive. These alarms can be for low or high glucose warnings or for loss of signal between the reader and sensor.

14-day system

There is also a FreeStyle Libre 14-day system. Based on the information on the website, it appears that this model is similar to the FreeStyle Libre 2. However, although a person can use a smartphone app to check readings and details with this model, it does not include alarm features.

Price

The website is vague about the exact cost of the products. The company does say, however, that they cost less than most CGM systems. It also claims that privately insured patients end up paying up to $60 a month for the sensors and no more than $65 for the readers. Find out more about private health insurance coverage.

Medicare enrollees may be able to get their readers for free. Find out more information about Medicare coverage.

The Department of Veterans Affairs covers the 14-day system for veterans. Learn more about coverage for veterans.

A person may be eligible to receive either product for free for a trial if they sign up for the MyFreeStyle program. Find out more about this program.

Many alternative CGMs are available. Some examples include:

  • Dexcom G6: The sensor for this device goes just under the skin. People apply it with an auto-applicator. Each sensor lasts for 10 days and is compatible with smartphones and Apple watches. The device also comes with a reader for those who do not wish to use their phone.
  • Eversense: A healthcare professional must insert this CGM, which is usable for 90 days. Users can receive their readings via the companion reader or on their smartphone.
  • Guardian Connect System: This is another sensor that is compatible with a smartphone app. It gives predictive alerts by analyzing previous glucose levels and working out when a person may get a high or low glucose level reading.

As an alternative to CGMs, a person can test their blood glucose levels using a lancet and blood sugar meter. They use the lancet to obtain a small blood sample, which they then test using a blood sugar meter.

In people with diabetes, the body either does not make enough insulin, or it does not use it properly. This means that blood glucose levels can become very high or very low, leading to adverse health effects.

Therefore, checking these levels is an important way to manage diabetes. Glucose levels will determine what a person eats and a person’s exercise routine.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) says that a person with diabetes should aim to keep their blood glucose at 80–130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) before a meal and less than 180 mg/dl 2 hours after a meal.

Research suggests that CGMs are an efficient way to monitor these blood glucose levels.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that people are at higher risk for developing diabetes if they:

  • have a family history of the condition
  • have prediabetes
  • have excess body weight
  • are aged 45 years or over
  • do not exercise regularly
  • have had gestational diabetes or given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
  • are African American, Hispanic, Latin American, Native American, or Alaskan Native

The NIDDK says that people may need to visit a doctor if their blood glucose levels are frequently too high or too low or they have any symptoms of high or low blood sugar.

The symptoms of hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, include:

Hypoglycemia is the official name for low blood glucose. In severe cases, it can be life threatening.

The symptoms can often come on very quickly. Some mild-to-moderate symptoms may include:

  • shakiness
  • sweating
  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • pale skin
  • lack of coordination
  • irritability or nervousness
  • poor concentration
  • weakness
  • fast or irregular heartbeat

Severe symptoms may include not being able to eat or drink, seizures, convulsions, and unconsciousness. If a person with diabetes has any symptoms of hypoglycemia, urgent medical help is necessary.

Freestyle Libre by Abbott is a CGM device that allows people with diabetes to monitor their blood glucose levels.

It uses a small round sensor that takes a reading every minute. People wear it for 14 days and can check their blood glucose levels using the included compatible reader.