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Living with Diabetes

Continuous glucose monitoring – ever thought about it?

10/5/2016 by Scott Johnson

Continuous glucose monitoring – ever thought about it?

I’d give up my car before I give up my Dexcom. Maybe that’s too bold, but my continuous glucose monitor (CGM) is that important to me. It’s a safety net, a protective layer of information, an early warning system, and one of the best ways to learn about my blood sugar.

A few years ago I mismanaged my supply order and had to live without my CGM for a bit. It was only a matter of hours into the first day without continuous glucose monitoring before it was clear how much I missed it. I was habitually reaching for my Dexcom receiver which wasn't even there (like forgetting your watch and constantly checking your wrist for the time).

I felt so exposed and vulnerable. The experience opened my eyes to how valuable continuous glucose monitoring had become for me!

Real life learning with continuous glucose monitoring

I remember a handful of key insights I experienced once I started using a continuous glucose monitoring device:

  • Blood sugars don’t move in straight lines. Traditional blood sugar graphs show straight lines, but on a CGM graph, even a flat line is as bumpy as the skin of a teenage toad.
  • (most) Food is fast. Like WAY fast. I never knew how quickly food hit my blood sugar until seeing it on a CGM.
  • Insulin is slow. Yes, even the rapid-acting stuff.

These things opened my eyes to how diabetes really works. It was a revolutionary learning period in my life with diabetes!

I was missing a lot of action between blood sugar checks, and my CGM filled in the blanks – painting a complete picture. Additionally, I learned how certain foods spiked my blood sugar, and others didn’t. I also felt a sense of freedom because I could keep an eye on things. And even though continuous glucose monitoring didn't eliminate fingersticks, once I experienced these benefits, wearing a CGM became a no-brainer for me.

Blood sugar info on my Apple Watch

But I'm confused – so few know about it

Through my work here at mySugr, my activity in social media, and attending conferences, I meet a lot of people with diabetes. I’m surprised that so many have never heard of continuous glucose monitoring! Over the next couple of articles, we'll dig a little more on some of the obvious objections, such as:

  • Cost & insurance coverage
  • Having something attached to you
  • Too much focus on diabetes

I'm sure there are many others I haven't thought of, and I'd love to explore this more. I hope you'll help me? Please leave a comment and let me know what I'm missing. And if you're already using CGM, how's it working for you? Was it an easy decision to start wearing one? Or did you have reservations?

Scott Johnson

Almost famous for his addiction to Diet Coke, Scott has lived well with diabetes for almost forty years and is currently the Patient Engagement Manager, USA for mySugr. He's been an active pioneer in the diabetes social media space for more than fifteen years and manages his award-winning blog, scottsdiabetes.com when time allows.

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