How Continuous Glucose Monitoring Can Improve Your Diabetes Control

Fact checked by Dr. Mohd Shafiz Mohd Zaini

Diabetes is a chronic condition preventing the body from maintaining blood sugar levels within a normal range. It affects millions of people across the globe and can often lead to several significant complications in life, such as digestive and kidney diseases.

Therefore, people with diabetes must adjust their lifestyles and monitor their blood sugar levels. Both a high and low blood sugar level can be dangerous, so people with diabetes have to manage it constantly, especially those with type 1 diabetes that require insulin shots.

Fortunately, managing diabetes has become easier with the development of continuous glucose monitoring devices (CGM). These devices provide real-time information about glucose levels. It’s important to know not only the glucose level but also how to use CGM devices and their potential limitations.

How continuous glucose monitoring works?

Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) involves using a small device to measure blood sugar levels in real-time throughout the day and night. There are two types of CGMs: real-time CGMs and intermittently scanned CGMs.

Real-time CGMs provide continuous glucose readings displayed on a receiver or an app on your cell phone. The CGM results are displayed on the device in real-time, allowing users to monitor their glucose levels and track changes over time. A study on adults with diabetes showed that real-time CGMs were quite effective in helping manage diabetes.

With intermittently scanned CGMs, the user has to scan the sensor with a receiver or smartphone to get a current blood sugar reading or a reading at a specific time. This type of CGM is less expensive and may be a good option for individuals who do not need constant glucose monitoring.

CGMs are usually worn on the abdomen, upper arm, or thigh and are inserted using a small needle or applicator. The tiny sensor then remains in place for several days before it needs to be replaced. The device is calibrated using a finger stick blood glucose test to ensure accurate readings.

How using CGMs benefits diabetes management?

Continuous glucose monitors are essential for diabetes management as they provide real-time information on blood glucose levels and reduce the risk of later health complications. The benefits of using it are manifold.

Real-time blood glucose monitoring

One of the primary advantages of a CGM device is its ability to provide real-time information on both low and high blood sugar.

Therefore, people with diabetes can now easily see and follow their glucose levels and how they respond to certain foods, exercise, and treatment. Moreover, it can help them set patterns in glucose levels and adjust their lifestyles accordingly.

Predicting high and low blood sugar

Another benefit of using a CGM device is that it can predict low and high blood sugar levels before they occur. By identifying and setting patterns in an individual’s glucose levels over time, CGMs can alert individuals to potential low and high blood glucose levels so they can take action to prevent them from occurring.

Reducing the risk of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia

Hypoglycemia occurs when the blood sugar is extremely low. Hyperglycemia, on the other hand, appears when it’s incredibly high. If left untreated for some time, they can lead to serious health problems.

CGMs can reduce the risk of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia by providing real-time monitoring and predictive capabilities. Therefore, the alerts sent by CGMs help users prevent these events from happening by adjusting insulin doses or having a snack to raise their blood sugar levels.

Making informed decisions about diet and exercise

Adjusting their lifestyle is an essential part of diabetes management. Many researchers emphasize the importance of physical activity for individuals with diabetes. CGMs help individuals with diabetes make informed decisions about diet and exercise.

Thus, with the help of continuous monitoring, people can see how they react to different types of food and physical activity. This information will help them make better decisions regarding their diabetes care and make better choices to prevent complications.

Providing information to healthcare professionals

Lastly, CGM data is helpful for both private users and their healthcare professionals. CGM devices provide information to their doctors, which allows them to monitor glucose levels and adjust medical treatment decisions accordingly.

This way, it’s easier to provide better support and manage the condition to reduce the risk of health complications.

What tips are there for effectively using a continuous glucose monitor?

A continuous glucose monitoring device is similar to a personal assistant for people with diabetes. It’s easy to use and offers many benefits for its user. However, it’s essential to use it correctly to get the most out of it. There are a few tips on how to use a CGM system properly.

Setting glucose targets

The first step in effectively setting up a CGM device is to set a personalized glucose target range. It should be personalized, meaning it should be based on your age, health, and medical conditions.

Moreover, lifestyle factors are crucial for setting it right. Thus, physical activity, diet, and type of insulin therapy, whether it’s an insulin pump or insulin shot, should be included. Most importantly, you can always change these targets according to your lifestyle or medical changes.

Using CGM data to make informed decisions

Apart from being informed of your blood glucose readings, you need to interpret the data and use it to make informed decisions about your diet, physical activity, and the required insulin therapy.

Numerous strands of research show the importance of adjusting lifestyles to manage diabetes. CGM data can help you identify and set glucose trends and patterns, which should be taken seriously and managed accordingly.

Maintaining CGM accuracy

It’s also vital for CGM devices to be accurate. If they’re inaccurate, you won’t be able to make the right decisions for your health, leading to long-term medical problems.

To ensure the accuracy of CGM readings, you should calibrate the device regularly and avoid issues affecting the readings, such as skin irritation and poor sensor placement. Moreover, troubleshooting accuracy problems can help ensure that CGM data is reliable.

Using alerts and alarms

CGM systems offer optional alarms and alerts for varying blood glucose levels. However, it’s important to customize them according to your needs.

They’re supposed to alert you based on your personalized information to inform you of potential or current irregularities and risks. Therefore, quickly and efficiently responding to alerts and alarms can help prevent hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.

Integrating CGM with other diabetes management strategies

To get the best results and maintain the best health possible, you may integrate a CGM system with other diabetes management strategies, such as finger stick testing, diabetes care apps, A1C testing, and other CGM systems.

This way, blood sugar monitoring can provide the most effects and benefits to you as a user. It can provide a complete picture of your condition and help you fill all the potential gaps, leading to the best possible blood sugar readings and management.

How to choose the best continuous glucose monitor?

With the technological development and the spread of diabetes management awareness, many continuous glucose monitoring systems exist. Thus, the decision can be based on your preferences, such as cost, accuracy, comfort, and ease of use.

The cost of continuous glucose monitors can vary significantly from manufacturer to manufacturer. Besides the original price, you should consider the ongoing cost of supplies such as sensors and transmitters for the device. Therefore, insurance coverage could be a significant factor in deciding which CGM device to use.

Furthermore, some CGM systems may be more accurate than others. Therefore, you must do your research and look at reviews of various models before making a decision. Reviews from other users may help with picking the most reliable one. Another factor to consider before buying a CGM device is comfort.

Considering that CGM sensors are usually meant to be worn continuously for a few days, finding the most comfortable one is essential. Thus, pay special attention to the size and shape of the sensor, the adhesive part used for attachment, and any previous experiences with skin irritation.

Lastly, ease of use can be a significant deciding factor when choosing a CGM device. Since you’ll need to use it constantly, you should consider the ones with more user-friendly interfaces or those that are easier to set up.

Make sure to consider all your preferences and research several models before making a decision.

Moreover, you can consult your healthcare provider to give you their insights and help you choose the most appropriate CGM device.

What the potential challenges and limitations are?

Even though this smart device has many benefits when measuring blood glucose levels and setting up your diabetes care plan, it still has some downsides and limitations. Therefore, you may encounter connectivity problems, so if you’re out of range of the device, you can experience technical difficulties.

Moreover, it can limit your daily activities, as its placement on the body can interfere with your sleep or exercise routine. Constantly checking or setting the device can also interfere with your daily routines.

Another big downside that can happen is skin irritation and discomfort. Sticking the adhesive part to your skin can be uncomfortable and may even cause an allergic reaction.

You can count visibility or noticeability among its challenges, so it’s easy to see that CGM devices can cause inconvenience and discomfort to users. However, it’s a valuable and useful device for managing diabetes.


Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects more and more people worldwide. CGM measures blood sugar levels and provides users with real-time information to help people with diabetes manage this condition.

Moreover, the device identifies blood sugar patterns which help users and healthcare professionals set up a treatment plan and quickly get their blood glucose level to a normal range. Despite their limitations, continuous glucose monitors are valuable and beneficial to users since they help avoid long-term health complications. The user’s preferences and needs should affect the choice with many different manufacturers and help them make the best decisions.








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