Diabetes – What is Continuous Glucose Monitoring?


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What is Continuous Glucose Monitoring?

Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) is a method of monitoring blood glucose levels through the use of a thin wire sensor placed just under the skin, which samples glucose levels every few minutes throughout the day. The information is transmitted to a device that enables the user to view the information in real time. The data is useful for individuals with diabetes who need to constantly monitor glucose readings in order to prevent dangerous highs or lows. CGM data is also stored for later upload to a computer to help evaluate trends and make treatment optimization.

Why Is It Important To Monitor Blood Glucose Levels?

Many people with diabetes may not have noticeable symptoms until their blood glucose levels are either too high or too low. Hyperglycemia occurs when blood glucose levels are too high. If left untreated, this can lead to more serious complications, such as ketoacidosis.

Alternatively, hypoglycemia occurs when blood glucose levels are too low. If hypoglycemia is left untreated, the individual may experience a seizure or lose consciousness. Blood glucose levels must be controlled in order to avoid serious complications of diabetes.

Monitoring Blood Glucose Levels With a Standard Blood Glucose Meter

The most traditional method of checking blood glucose levels is through the use of a small lancing device to prick the tip of the finger to obtain a drop of blood. The blood sample is inserted into a blood glucose meter, which then measures glucose levels. These meters provide a single data point in time, and are effective for many individuals with diabetes when used several times per day, including before and after meals. For individuals who may need to test their glucose levels more often, CGM may offer an easier and more effective solution than finger sticks alone.

Monitoring Blood Glucose Levels with a CGM

Continuous glucose monitoring is a blood glucose monitoring method that can provide more than 250 readings per day. Minimal finger-stick readings from a standard blood glucose monitor are still required to double check the CGM device accuracy.

All of these readings together provide a pattern of blood glucose levels that may identify trends. Healthcare providers can use these trends to understand fluctuating glucose levels and how they relate to:

●  The kinds of food a patient eats

●  The types of activity they do

●  Medications and dosages

Trends may also help reveal:

●  Fluctuations in glucose levels overnight, which are often undetected

●  Blood glucose spikes early in the morning

This information enables healthcare providers to understand the effectiveness of an individual’s current treatment plan, and to make adjustments when needed.

Making Continuous Glucose Monitoring More Convenient

A variety of insulin pumps now integrate with CGM systems, helping reduce the number of devices that have to be carried.  Newer models even have bright, color touchscreens like smartphones, making them simple to learn and use.

How Does Continuous Glucose Monitoring Work?

Continuous glucose monitoring uses a sensor that is placed under the skin of the abdomen for up to 7 days. The sensor reads the amount of glucose in the surrounding fluid using an enzyme called glucose oxidase, the same technology used for testing strips.

When glucose in the surrounding fluid interacts with glucose oxidase, the enzyme converts the glucose into hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide reacts with platinum inside the sensor that then sends a signal to a transmitter. This signal is converted into a glucose reading.

Who Can Use Continuous Glucose Monitoring?

Individuals with diabetes who may benefit from the use of continuous glucose monitoring include those who:

●  Have unexplained extreme highs or lows in glucose levels

●  Have a diagnosis of gestational diabetes

●  Have consistent high or low blood glucose levels

●  Are currently using an insulin pump

Speak With Your Healthcare Provider

Continuous glucose monitoring systems may require extra training and practice to use the device properly. Speak with your healthcare provider and your diabetes management team to learn more about continuous glucose monitoring and to determine whether CGM would be an effective addition to your current diabetes management plan.











Top tips on how to fight the cravings and maintain a healthy weight

Shona Wilkinson
Shona Wilkinson

Watch our video featuring nutritionist Shona Wilkinson for helpful tips and advice on how you can maintain a healthy weight in 2016

Many of us think that we are taking the right steps in being healthy, which means it can be frustrating when we are not feeling as energetic and happy as we would like. There are many factors that you may not even think about, such as stress, which can lead our bodies to release glucose to the blood stream quickly, which usually gets converted into energy and with many of us living inactive lifestyles the glucose turns to fat. This can often make it difficult to maintain your weight. Therefore, lowering your sugar intake, or replacing sugar in your diet with healthier options can help you feel happier and healthier.

Shona Wilkinson, head nutritionist at NutriCentre  shares her advice on how many different factors can impact your weight and what you can do to make sure 2016 is the year you finally achieve your ideal body.

Below are some helpful tips to help you with your weight management this year.

  1. When you’re trying to be healthy one of the best things you can do is cut out sugary drinks which are full of sugar, sweeteners, additives, colourings and preservatives.  If you are avoiding sugary drinks it can be nice to give yourself something a bit different to just water – as wonderful as water is! You may think water can be boring, but here are a few suggestions that may inspire you to get a bit more creative when it comes to drinking your two litres a day.

  • Water and fruit- Fruit juice is a favourite drink for many people but it contains too much fructose (sugar) when drunk neat. So what about infused water? To add natural flavour to your drinking water you can steep flavoursome and fragrant things in it (for at least two hours), you will be amazed at what a difference it makes.
  1. Sugar makes our food taste great, gives us a quick boost of energy, and makes us feel good, at least temporarily. But it’s also a highly addictive substance and when consumed frequently, can have negative effects on our health.
  2. Make sure your meals contain protein, non-starchy vegetables and unrefined carbohydrates. To avoid the cycle of blood glucose dips and peaks that make you reach for sugar, it is vital to base your meals on foods that have a ‘low glycaemic index rating’, that make you feel full and are digested slowly. Perhaps the most important of these are foods that contain good amounts of protein.
  3. Have breakfast! – As well as ensuring your meals and snacks give a slow release of energy, it is vitally important that one of these meals is a healthy breakfast.
  4. Quitting sugar doesn’t mean you shouldn’t snack- When choosing your between-meal nibbles, remember that they should be based on the same principles as above and contain protein, healthy fats and/or unrefined carbohydrates
  5. Take some exercise – Moderate exercise helps us to feel energised, less sluggish, and healthier. It can help to control stress levels and also support blood sugar control to avoid dips that will induce cravings.
  6. Support your energy with B vitamins, vitamin C and magnesium- B vitamins, vitamin C and the mineral magnesium are particularly important nutrients that are needed to produce energy from the foods that we eat; and we can struggle to get enough of them, even in a healthy diet.


So whether you have fallen off the New Year’s Resolution band wagon, are looking for motivation to stay dedicated or simply looking for inspiration to help beat the cravings, watch our video for helpful tips.