A new generation of the blood-glucose monitoring system, known as continuous glucose monitors, promises to change the way patients and their care providers manage diabetes.
What is a Continous glucose monitor?
Unlike traditional monitors that provide one-time snapshots of the blood-glucose level, continuous glucose monitors deliver readings every few minutes around the clock. This enables the patients and their doctors to measure the trends, chart ups & downs, and identify problems and adjust insulin, meal, or exercise regimens.
Continuous glucose monitors have a tiny flexible catheter, similar to the catheters used with an insulin pump, is inserted into “subcutaneously” (under the skin). The catheter houses the glucose sensor, which measures changes in glucose levels in the interstitial fluid (the tiny layer of fluid under the skin), and sends the information either to a beeper-sized box or to a compatible insulin pump, which stores the results. Three or four days’ worth of blood-glucose readings can be stored at a time.
Because it sometimes takes a while for the glucose level in the interstitial fluid to match the glucose level in your blood, you should double-check your results with a finger stick reading before treating for a high or a low glucose level that shows up on your continuous glucose monitor. Talk with your doctor about the availability of these products, whether it makes sense for you.