Understanding Continuous Glucose Monitoring For Diabetics

Continuous Glucose Monitoring


Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease in which the body either fails to produce or is resistant to Insulin. A lack of which results in blood glucose levels rise in the body commonly known as Hyperglycemia – a common side effect of uncontrolled diabetes. The two most common types of Diabetes include:

  • Type 1 Diabetes (Juvenile)
  • Type 2 Diabetes (Adult Onset)

According to WHO, 422 million people around the globe have diabetes and the number is constantly increasing. The two most common methods of monitoring blood glucose levels include:

  • Blood glucose meter
  • Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM)  

Both the methods are effective in monitoring glucose levels and have a range of advantages. However, in this blog, we will discuss what is CGM its pros, and cons, its uses, etc. We will also be covering the major differences between the blood glucose meter and the advanced continuous glucose monitoring for diabetes.

What is Continuous Glucose Monitoring?

A continuous glucose monitor, abbreviate as CGM, is an FDA-approved device used to track the blood sugar levels in the body. It assists in monitoring blood glucose levels in Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. The device is placed under the skin or on the arm and has a sensor affixed to it that monitors blood glucose levels throughout the day. Since the glucose levels are monitored at regular intervals, it helps doctors assess the pattern of an individual’s diabetes and plan the treatment diligently.

Who Should Use CGM?

The most commonly used blood glucose monitor to measure blood glucose levels is the conventional blood glucometer. However, the CGM is an additional tool to help people keep a check on their interstitial glucose levels and modify their lifestyles accordingly. The National Institute of Diabetes and Kidney Diseases has set the following criteria as to who can use the device:

  • If you frequently experience low or high blood glucose levels
  • Adults with type 1 diabetes or A1c levels above 7%
  • If you are on extensive insulin treatment
  • You don’t know when you are hypoglycemic (hypoglycemia unawareness). 

However recently, the device was approved for children above the age of 2 as well.

Why Use CGM?

Unlike traditional glucose meters, CGM calculates the glucose level throughout the day. It helps the patient be aware of their health and to take appropriate measures before things get out of hand. 

The device can be beneficial in:

  • Detecting high levels of glucose between meals
  • Indicating an early morning rise in glucose levels
  • Helping evaluate the effectiveness of your treatment plan 
  • Assessing how diet and exercise affect your health 

How Does CGM Work?

Different devices work differently to collect information, some have sensors fixed to them to gather information. Similarly, the Continuous Glucose Monitoring device has 3 main components: the sensor, transmitter, and receiver/monitor. Each of which has a specific purpose to serve. 


The sensor is a thin wire attached to the skin or the arm, it is inserted through a needle and detects the glucose levels in the interstitial fluid between the cells.


It acts as a messenger and transmits messages from the sensor to the receiver through radio waves. Some transmitters are chargeable whereas others do not require charging but need to be replaced every few months.


As the name suggests, the receiver attains the signals and displays the readings on the screen. It also allows you to review the past readings to better understand the trend of glucose levels in the body. The receiver also warns you about the fluctuations in glucose levels so that you may take the necessary steps to overcome the symptoms.

Blood Glucose Monitoring vs CGM:

Regular monitoring of blood glucose levels is essential to maintain healthy living. It helps people understand and manage their condition. 

The regular blood glucose meter is used to test the glucose levels in the body by examining the small amount of blood pricked from the finger using a lancet. The blood glucose meter displays the current blood glucose level. It is by far the most common and easiest method of monitoring glucose levels however, the procedure is quite painful. This is why continuous glucose monitoring is becoming the method of choice as it is pain-free and gives reading at regular intervals. 

As previously explained, the CGM doesn’t involve pricking a finger, instead, a sensor is place on the skin surface that monitors the glucose levels in the interstitial fluid throughout the day. It not only keeps you updated on your glucose levels but also helps recognize patterns so that you know when to take the medicine or how to prevent it by taking necessary precautions. CGM is ideal for people with needle phobia and children too. Monitoring enables you to make decisions related to food intake, medicine dosage, exercise, etc.  

Advantages and Disadvantages of CGM:

Like every other device, CGM comes with a set of pros and cons. We will start by discussing the advantages first:


  • CGM saves an individual from constant finger pricks.
  • Helps manage glucose levels by helping you make an informed decision about lifestyle changes.
  • It also aids in monitoring the changes in glucose levels.
  • The device has a feature to set an alarm whenever the glucose levels go down.


  • Despite CGM monitoring glucose levels at regular intervals, the individual still needs to use a blood glucometer to gauge CGM for precision.
  • Data suggests that CGM fails to detect hypoglycemia 
  • CGM devices are costly

Deciding If It’s Right For You:

Deciding what is right for you may seem difficult, but it is advisable to consult a doctor for the best treatment option. 

Here in this blog, we have discussed the advantages and disadvantages of Continuous Glucose Monitoring which might give some insight into the device and its usage.

  •  Although it is convenient to use, some people may find it cumbersome to keep the device attached to their bodies for longer periods of time. 
  • Another factor to keep in mind while deciding on the treatment option is that there will always be a need for a glucometer to confirm the results since the CGM gives a time in-range reading, meaning you might be experiencing the symptoms but the device would show the results in the target range.
  • There is always a lag or difference in glucose levels when measured from a blood glucose meter versus interstitial fluid with a detector.
  •  Cost is another factor that can alter the decision process as the device is expensive. 

Therefore, all these factors must be kept in mind while making the best decision for yourself.

Also Read: How to Get Benefits From a Nutrition Coaching in Orange County?

The Takeaway:

The introduction of CGM is a step forward in the progression of health technologies. These technologies allow individuals to make well-informed decisions about their health and daily life activities. This not only allows them to keep track of their glucose levels but also makes necessary changes in their lifestyle. The use of technology is improving our access to knowledge, resulting in better health outcomes.

Extensive clinical studies are being carrie out to assess the effectiveness of the continuous glucose monitoring device. One such Clinical Research Organization in Texas is conducting clinical trials to analyze the effectiveness of the device.


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