What is a CGM and How Can It Help You Manage Your Health?

Technology has allowed mankind to overcome many of the obstacles that nature has thrown our way. From giving doctors the ability to see beneath the skin of patients to identify tumors without the need for invasive surgery, to new techniques which have allowed people who were born deaf to regain their hearing, technology has been a major boon to medicine. One of the more recent inventions making waves in the medical field is the CGM. But what is a CGM, and how can it be used to help manage your health?

What is a CGM?

Designed to improve the daily lives of the over 130 million Americans living with diabetes, the Continuous Glucose Monitor, or CGM, is a device that can be worn on a person’s body that can continuously track and record that person’s glucose levels. Using a small sensor that is inserted just under the skin which connects wirelessly to a monitor, or a linked app, the CGM provides up-to-the-minute data on a person’s glucose levels to monitor the levels continuously over a period of time.

The most popular use of these monitors is to help manage diabetes, although this is far from their only use. For many people diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, using a CGM can offer a relatively painless and easy way to track their glucose levels while the correct medication and dosage are being prescribed or a new diet is being trialed to manage the condition. 

What are the Benefits of a CGM?

Aside from eliminating the need for continuous finger pricks, a CGM has a few other notable advantages that make it better than its traditional competitors. According to studies on the long-term use of a CGM, using a CGM can have a beneficial effect on hypoglycemia prevention and hypoglycemic confidence. In layman's terms, this means that it can improve glycemic control in people who are still learning how to control their type 1 diabetes.

This is because the continual tracking of glucose levels can help patients and their doctor easily identify trends, track levels during the night, which isn’t possible with other methods, and help to identify dangerous fluctuations before they cause further harm. In addition, because the device is non-invasive, it is also safe to use during pregnancy, and its use is also attributed to better health outcomes for both moms and babies during pregnancy.

Are There Any Downsides to Using a CGM?

While a CGM can be a useful tool for patients and doctors alike, there are some limitations and considerations to the technology. Firstly, while the CGM can reduce the number of finger-prick tests a person may need to take, it doesn’t eliminate their need entirely. Secondly, the sensor itself, while durable, is not unbreakable, and users may need to cut back on activities that could damage the device, like some physical exercise. Finally, one of the most important considerations to note is the cost of the CGM itself. While CGMs are becoming more commonplace, they are still considerably more expensive than traditional forms of testing and many insurance plans do not cover these devices, yet.

What Else Can a CGM be Used For?

Because CGM provides real-time, objective, actionable data about how the food a person eats affects their body’s glucose levels, CGMs are becoming a popular choice for people looking to improve their overall health. Using the data gathered by the CGM, dieticians can create individualized meal plans and regimes for people who are looking to live a healthier lifestyle.

Using technology like the CGM can help people better manage life-altering health problems, learn more about the way their body processes food, and give people access to a better, healthier lifestyle. If you or a loved one are affected by type 1 diabetes, be sure to ask your health professional about how a CGM can help you.