What is CGM? (Continuous Glucose Monitoring)

What is CGM? (Continuous Glucose Monitoring)

30 April 2021

Diabetes in Bulgaria and globally

 

Diabetes is the cause of about 500,000 people in Bulgaria and almost half a billion people globally. The statistics do not include undiagnosed people or people who may develop diabetes further in life. The percentage of diabetes in Bulgaria and around the world is increasing each year but thankfully technology has a solution to make diabetes more manageable.

 

Among the types of diabetes are:

  • Type 1 diabetes: An autoimmune disease, which results in little or no insulin produced by the pancreas. Insulin is a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into your cells. The immune system attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas. 1 in 10 diabetes patients have Type 1 diabetes.
  • Type 2 diabetes: Occurs when the organism becomes resistant to insulin, and sugar builds up in the blood. The pancreas does not produce enough insulin and/or cells respond poorly to insulin and take in less sugar.
  • Prediabetes: Occurs when blood sugar is higher than it should be, but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes: High blood sugar during pregnancy. Insulin-blocking hormones produced by the placenta cause this type of diabetes.

 

Every diabetic knows the traditional and even old-fashioned measuring devices for blood sugar which bring temporary discomfort caused by the pricking of fingers. Diabetics purchase test strips, lancets, needles and other diabetes-soothing equipment regularly but come on! There should be other ways to battle this.

 

High-tech blood measuring devices have been on the market for years. Continuous glucose monitoring systems monitor glucose levels in the interstitial fluid in real time without finger pricking. These innovative glucometers use a sensor, with a patch underneath, which is usually applied on the arm or on the stomach. They measure blood sugar levels without pricking your fingers several times a day. The sensor connects to your smartphone or other external device.

 

On the other hand, the future holds non-invasive glucose monitoring bracelets or watches but so far the sensors are minimally-invasive, smartphone-connected and barely visibile through clothes.

 

More about CGM

 

A Continuous Glucose Monitoring system, usually in the form of a glucose sensor, is a minimally-invasive system compatible with type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients. The purpose of the system is to measure blood sugar through the interstitial fluid in the human body. The system is called "continuous" because it measures without interruption and in real-time. CGM operates without blood and finger-pricking. Another advantage of CGM is that you can connect it to your smartphone device via a Bluetooth mobile application.

Medtrum A7+ TouchCare сензор за кръвна захар

 

Continuous glucose monitoring system emerged in 1999. The first long-term blood glucose measurement system was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Over the years, the companies Dexcom, Medtronic, Abbott and Eversense have developed the technology and with subsequent developments, achieved greater accuracy of their sensors. Now sensors last up to 14 days, although some can do even 20 days with additional care. 

 

Is it that simple?

 

The system for continuous glucose monitoring is compact, waterproof, barely noticeable through your clothes. The sensor system consists of:

  • a sensor which is applied on the body, detects glucose levels and usually lasts for up to 14 days. This is a consumable product and should be replaced every two weeks.
  • a transmitter, which is either integrated into the sensor or is available separately for multiple use. The transmitter sends data from the sensor to your smartphone device 
  • a smartphone to download the application that connects to your glucose sensor. It stores data and statistics. It also warns of abnormalities in glucose levels. Some companies offer Personal Diabetes Managing devices (PDM) to connect your CGM with.

Medtrum A7+ сензор продължително измерване на кръвна захар

 
Advantages and disadvantages

 

Depending on the country where you live in, CGMs are relatively easy to find. Here are the advantages:

  • Minimally invasive technology, continuously monitoring your glucose levels in real-time
  • You can monitor your glucose levels through your smartphone. 
  • Alerting you for high and low glucose levels
  • Some CGM applications store data for long periods of time on a cloud server which can be accessed from other devices too, for example from the computer of your endocrinologist.
  • Covered by National or Private Health Funds in some countries.
  • Increased comfort while dealing with diabetes
  • Relatively accurate measuring technology (+/- 15%)
  • CGM can function with external receivers in case you do not prefer to use a smartphone.
  • Most CGMs support smartwatches, such as Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Watch, and others, so you can see your glucose levels on your wrist.
  • Family members, caregivers or medical doctors can monitor you from distance.

And the disadvantages:

  • May be expensive in some countries, if not covered by the local Health Fund
  • Additional attention and care is required for the sensor, e.g. being careful how you sleep, how much you exercise, etc.
  • If not protected or taken care of, a sensor rarely meets the life-expectancy of 14 days
  • Additional supporting patches or accesories are sometimes needed to protect the sensor from peeling off.
  • When used or placed inappropriately, it can show inaccurate data
  • CGMs do not completely replace standard blood sugar meters since they are needed for calibration purposes

We expect to see even more modern and durable glucose monitoring solutions in the future. At this stage, CGMs can make every diabetic's life easier. Any patient with diabetes can start using glucose sensors to measure blood sugar more conveniently. The CGM system alerts the user for sudden deviations, peaks, highs and lows of glucose levels, which is essential to many patients with diabetes.

 

In Bulgaria, the National Health Insurance Fund is expected to reimburse glucose sensors for patients in 2021. The Health Insurance Fund will announce its decision at the beginning of April 2021. Learn more about the decision of the National Health Insurance Fund on our website.

 

Helmed Bulgaria offers CGM Medtrum A7+ TouchCare. 

 

Order CGM sensors for Bulgaria HERE.

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