WHAT IS A CGMS & WHAT ARE SENSORS?
I’ve had diabetes for over 20 years, & THIS MEDICAL DEVICE HAS CHANGED MY LIFE & HAS HELPED ME STAY ALIVE!
CGMS stands for Continuous Glucose Monitoring System. If you have diabetes, you will definitely want one of these & maybe even need one!
A CGMS automatically monitors your glucose trends all throughout the day & night. You look at a screen & VOILA...there is your blood sugar right in front of you whenever you want, without pricking your finger over & over again!
Glucose sensors are the supplies for the CGMS that stay on your abdomen (or elsewhere) to monitor your blood sugar. (It’s actually monitoring interstitial fluid, but blood sugar is easier to understand if you’re on a learning curve right now.)
WHY WOULD A DIABETIC WANT A CGMS?
Continuous Glucose Monitoring Systems are simply amazing! It has been an invaluable tool for controlling my diabetes! If I had to choose between my insulin pump and my CGMS, I might choose the CGMS, just maybe. But, thankfully, I don’t have to choose…I get to have both!
Having a CGMS doesn’t eliminate the need for all finger pricks, but it decreases them to 1-4 a day, depending on the brand. EVERY FIVE MINUTES, you get a new reading to show your current status. And, helpful arrows on the screen indicate if you're rising or falling & how quickly that is occurring.
Can you imagine getting to know the hourly patterns of your glucose levels without using a glucometer every hour? Well, now it’s possible! (That is, if you can afford it & if you can convince your insurance company that you need it.)
What brings me the most security in wearing a CGMS is being able to sleep peacefully, knowing that I'll be alerted if my glucose drops dangerously low in the night. It's very difficult to get yourself out of bed in the middle of the night when your blood sugar is out of whack. But having a device that alarms or vibrates until you respond makes it harder for you to stay in bed & ignore reality. Sometimes that beep or vibration is the extra motivation to get me up & do what I know I need to do. And during those times when I’m in a deep sleep, my hubby nudges me & says, “Honey, your thing is going off.”
Another aspect I love about wearing a CGMS is that if I’m in the middle of something & can’t stop what I’m doing to check my blood sugar, I can quickly glance at my device & see what it says. This is so helpful when I’m in the middle of driving my kids around town, I have raw chicken on my hands while cooking dinner, or I’m having lunch with a new friend & don’t want to prick my finger in front of them.
A CGMS is especially helpful when working-out. Sometimes when I didn’t have the CGMS in front of me, I would inaccurately think my blood sugar was dropping & would stop exercising too soon before getting an adequate amount of exercise. Or worse, I would be dangerously low & not know it. Now if my CGMS shows I’m quickly dropping, then I know to eat a snack or finish early. Having a CGMS takes the guessing out of the game.
DO I NEED A CGMS?
I’m constantly teaching my kids the difference between needs & wants. Unfortunately, most insurance companies have to focus on this distinction too. When your health & safety are threatened, a medical device like this should fall under the category of needs.
I’ve likely convinced you that you want a CGMS. If you say yes to any of the following questions, then you will hopefully be able to convince your doctor & insurance company that you need a CGMS.
- Do you ever check your blood sugar & find out you're dangerously low & didn’t know it?
- Do you ever check your blood sugar & find out you're dangerously high & didn’t’ know it?
- Do you have a hard time waking up in the middle of the night when you’re glucose is low?
- Or worse, did you ever not check or treat your blood sugar & find yourself in the hospital because it was dangerously high or low?
- Are you pregnant or preparing your body to get pregnant? (Oh, how I wish I had one of these when I was pregnant! It would have saved me 10 finger sticks a day!)
- Do you have a job that often inhibits you from being able to stop & take time to check your blood sugar?
- Do you live alone?
- Is your child the one with diabetes & you need to adequately monitor their glucose? (There are devices that correspond with a CGMS in order for a parent to monitor their child’s glucose trends in another room while they’re sleeping. So cool! I’m so thankful for brilliant & dedicated people who develop this medical equipment.)