I am inclined to review and discuss the importance of Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM). To date diabetes (Type 1 and 2) affects more than 195 million people worldwide, and in 2030 it is expected to rise to more than 330 million. Diabetes management is of utmost importance to prevent and control the many complications of this insidious disease. For those of you who are diabetic, have you ever considered the importance of your glucose levels? At any given time do you know how high or how low your blood glucose levels are and should it really matter?
According to the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT), the chronic hyperglycemia (high Blood sugar) of diabetes is associated with both micro- and macrovascular complications. To properly manage diabetes to prevent these complications involves control of fasting, pre-prandial (before you eat), and post-prandial (after you eat) glucose levels. A lot of attention has been placed on HbA1c levels. Although this is an excellent indicator, and it is important to achieve and maintain within the range of 7%, it does not tell you how high your glucose is during fasting, pre- prandial and post-prandial periods, and it is these highs as mentioned which impacts the complications of diabetes. The only way many can tell if they are within a normal glucose range is with the periodic “Finger Sticks”. Individuals tell me they want to test more often but do not want to go through the unpleasant process of sticking their finger to draw blood, as a result they really do not know if their levels are acceptable or not. Many are also diagnosed with chronic renal disease, neuropathy, vision and cardiovascular complications due to diabetes.
I would like to suggest that you speak with your health care provider regarding the most recent technology that will allow you to monitor you blood glucose levels in real time, which may one day soon eliminate the need for routine finger sticks. I am sure many of you have heard of the “Continuous Glucose Monitoring” (CGM) systems which are devices that use subcutaneous glucose sensors to automatically track blood glucose levels 24 hours a day. The CGM systems alerts you to changes in blood glucose levels, which assists you in making informed decisions about nutrition, exercise and medication. Research have shown that these devices have played a vital role in improving health outcomes and quality of life for diabetics.
Case in point: Two weeks ago while reviewing a Fasting Blood Glucose Level with a very close relative of which we were both in shock and awe with the over 200 results. Both he and I could not believe this elevated level, although his A1c was within the 7% range, however what do you think with a 200 level for an extended amount of time was doing to his vascular system? As I held back the tears, once again I recommended the CGM. If he had previously obtained the devise it would have immediately alerted him of the high fasting level, thus he would have been able to administer an insulin dose to bring the level within range. Now he is very interested and is talking with his endocrinologist to obtain one of the devises.
Please I urge you, for your health’s sake and for your love ones, talk with your primary care providers regarding CGM, it is no longer just the finger stick it is the minute to minute ticks that will lead to an improved quality of life.