Can you imagine knowing what your blood glucose is 96-288 times each day and only doing a finger stick 0-2x daily? This is possible with continuous glucose monitors (CGM’s) now available for patients use. These monitors have been available for over a decade but most people with diabetes are unfamiliar with this technology and how affordable it is. Two CGM’s on the market are DEXCOM and Freestyle Libre. DEXCOM provides glucose monitoring every 5 minutes and requires a fingerstick 2x/day for calibrating. Freestyle Libre provides glucose monitoring every 15 minutes with no finger sticks. The glucose data is available for real time viewing on a hand-held reader device and to download for review and pattern management with your dietitian. Many mistakenly believe a CGM is only for those with type 1 diabetes or who inject insulin. CGM’s are for anyone who really wants to be aware of their glucose level, so they can make informed lifestyle adjustments to improve their health.
Current studies indicate wearing a CGM does lower glucose levels and A1c. Hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) was also shown to be less frequent in the group of research patients wearing a CGM. Another study showed patients were very good overall about wearing their CGM and had a higher level of satisfaction with their treatment. Experience in our office at Banister Nutrition has shown once a patient has had access to their daily continuous glucose data they don’t want to be without their CGM. They like knowing what their glucose is constantly (without finger sticks) and they know they make better management choices with food and exercise because of this easily accessible glucose data.
Will your insurance cover the expense of your CGM? You won’t know until you ask. Insurance companies must become aware patients want these devices so contact your insurance company and inquire. Some insurance companies and policies are covering these devices. If your insurance company denies coverage, ask your pharmacy about a “pharmacy discount card” such as Good Rx, which will cost you nothing but will help decrease your cost for the CGM. Banister Nutrition has learned from their patients with the pharmacy discount card patient cost for the Freestyle Libre was $65 for 3 sensors (sensor to be worn for 10 days) which will last for one month. The Freestyle Libre Reader patient cost was $65. Your physician must write two prescriptions: one prescription for the reader, and one prescription for the sensors.
Having access to continual information is far better than checking your blood glucose 2-3x/day. Continuous glucose monitors are moving to center stage for diabetes management and finger sticks will gradually be non-existent.
*Picture provided by thediabetescouncil.com*