Get in the Know: Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGM) and Insulin Pumps
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes and inject insulin, you are probably familiar with meal planning basics, blood glucose meters and insulin pens. However, new technologies continue to emerge that make taking care of diabetes for people who require insulin easier, and more accurate.
What is a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM)?
A CGM is a small, wearable device that tracks glucose levels around the clock, notifying you of highs and lows via an alarm so that you can take action to correct your blood sugar. A CGM system has three parts: a glucose sensor, a transmitter and a small receiver that displays real time glucose information that is updated every five minutes. People who inject insulin with a pen and/or use an insulin pump can use it.
What are the Benefits of Using a CGM?
CGM use has been shown to improve HbA1C without an increase in low blood glucose events, which helps to improve your overall control. It helps you make decisions about your blood glucose by viewing a graph of trends instead of dosing insulin off a single number. A low blood glucose alarm can be set which makes living with diabetes safer, since it can wake you to treat a low blood sugar if needed. Both the high and low alarms let you know that it’s time to take action.
What is an Insulin Pump?
An insulin pump is a small, wearable device that delivers small amounts of insulin around the clock and additional doses at mealtimes. Pump users wear a small adhesive infusion set on their body in the same areas that one would use to inject insulin. The infusion set is typically changed every two to three days. Some insulin pump brands have an integrated CGM to monitor blood glucose and offer other functions, while other brands use a stand-alone CGM. As a patient you have the choice on whether or not you want to use the CGM that partners with your pump or another brand, unless your insurance dictates choice.
What are the Benefits of Using an Insulin Pump?
Insulin pumps provide improved blood sugar control due to a consistent, precise, convenient and flexible delivery of insulin around the clock. Pumps help prevent long-term complications, have alarm functions that remind you to check your blood sugar and give your mealtime bolus dose of insulin. Learn more about insulin pumps at www.medtronicdiabetes.com, www.animas.com, www.tandemdiabetes.com, www.myomnipod.com, www.accu-checkinsulinpumps.com.
If you think you might be a candidate for an insulin pump and/or CGM, talk to your endocrinologist or certified diabetes educator (CDE). They can educate you on whether you are a candidate based on your medical history, whether your insurance plan might cover the supplies, and how to get started with the ordering process. If you obtain a CGM and/or insulin pump, you will receive education on how to use the products by a company representative, your CDE or endocrinologist. For more diabetes resources, visit www.diabetes.org