Continued Glucose Monitoring

What is all this fuss about Continued Glucose Monitoring (CGM)? This is the latest technology in managing your diabetes and can literally revolutionise the way in which you are able to live.

A brief history of glucose monitoring

Many people may be familiar with home blood glucose monitoring that began in the late ’60s and early ’70s. These machines were extremely complex and required multiple inputs to obtain just a range of what the actual glucose reading could be. The first “Ames” meter required the patient apply a drop of blood and then wait exactly 50 seconds before matching it to a color chart. Later the colour chart was replaced with a needle but it was still not something most people used at home.

The first home glucose meters only became more readily available in the early 80’s – they used a similar process to the glucometers we currently use. Over the years, glucometers have become more sophisticated, more accurate, simpler to use and more easier to use. But they still require regular finger pricking and most certainly cannot tell a glucose reading unless the patient actively tests him/herself.

What is CGMS?

CGMS allows us the freedom of being able to monitor glucose levels throughout the day with very little intervention from the user. These readings can be stored for future analysis and most CGMS also communicate with computer software that can even offer suggestions as to how management of diabetes can be altered. Another advantage of CGMS is that most devices have built in algorithms that can calculate when the RATE OF CHANGE of the plasma glucose is too quick and can prevent glucose levels from rising or falling beyond a pre-determined, individualised target level by means of sophisticated alerts and alarms. So what does this mean in reality? It means that parents can sleep through the night and rely on the CGMS to alert them when their child’s glucose is falling too quickly and alert them to intervene and PREVENT a disasterous hypo. It means that a cyclist can go cycling without having to stop, prick his finger, test, and replace his meter but rather be warned when levels might be going too low and take an extra sip of glucose-enriched fluid from his tripper. It means that a teenager can write an exam or play sport and care-givers can watch remotely and suggest that an extra dose of insulin be given PRIOR to the levels rising too high. In short, CGMS can revolutionise the way you manage your diabetes.

Where is the catch?

There really is no catch. This is the way of the future. CGMS is not a cure for diabetes but it can change the way you live with diabetes. Perhaps, the only catch is the price but with 6 competing devices now on the market that all have slightly different means of action and niche markets, we as health care professionals are ever optimistic that competition will drive the fall in price.

Where to from here?

If you would like to know more about CGMS, please contact the diabetic team at the Atrium Lifestyle Centre. We have some devices that you can test or trial for a short period to get used to the device. Dr Paula Diab and Sr Fiona Prins are both experienced in CGMS and can suggest the most appropriate device for your individual needs. We look forward to seeing how we can help you manage your diabetes to the best of your ability.