Due to my job and general discomfort, it was not long before I had had enough of fingersticks. I voiced my desire to switch to a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to my endocrinologist and she immediately prescribed the Dexcom G6. I love my CGM, but all technology has its pitfalls. I want to share my opinions and experiences regarding the device with you!
1. Inaccuracy - The Dexcom G6 does not require fingersticks* but depending on the site location and transmitter life, I may have to calibrate several times a day for multiple days in a row before getting accurate readings.
2. Lack of approved insertion sites - The only approved locations to wear the sensor are the belly and upper buttocks (for children only). If you are wearing the sensor in an unapproved location and there is a complication with the sensor, Dexcom may not replace the device. If using pump therapy, you must rotate all sites (sensor and pump) and the abdomen can easily be worn out.
3. Transmitter battery life - The transmitter has a 90-day battery life, but I have consistently found that the last two weeks bring the most inaccurate readings. Typically, the receiver prompts me to calibrate at least once a day, every day during this last session. I find I rarely get the full 90 days of no stress, no calibration readings from the transmitter.
4. Warm up session - Two hours have never felt longer than when I am waiting for my sensor to warm up. Going from 10 days of continuous readings to two hours without anything is like going back to the stone age.
1. Accuracy - I found the sites that work best for me and now I can count on my BG readings to be accurate after the warm up session is complete. Depending on the reading and how I am feeling, I will resort to my meter and 9.5/10 times the CGM is correct.
2. No fingersticks - I have dreaded fingersticks since I was a child attending pediatrician appointments. I left the hospital after my diagnosis with purple and blue finger tips from the monster lancets the nurses used. The opportunity to stop pricking my fingers eight or more times a day came, I took it, and I love it. I insert the sensor and for 10 days, I do not have to fingerstick*.
3. Alternative receivers - The Dexcom sensor can communicate with the Dexcom receiver or a cellular phone using the Dexcom app. Personally, I do not want to carry another device around with me, so the option to use the application on my phone was the right choice. There are also compatible complications on most smart watches which allow the BG readings to be displayed on the watch face. Having my readings displayed on my wrist is a discrete way to make sure I am in range while working, exercising or enjoying time out with friends.
4. Management decisions - The continuous readings are displayed on a 24-hour graph within the app/receiver. Constant readings allow me to see how foods, exercise, stress and sleep affect my blood sugar. Using the Dexcom Clarity app, I can analyze my daily, weekly, and monthly data up to three months. With that data and consultation with my endo, I can make informed changes to my diabetes management - change doses, create temporary basal profiles, increase/decrease insulin to carb ratios, etc.
There are several CGM options on the market, each offering its own positives and negatives. I encourage you to research your options. Ask questions regarding insertion sites, frequency of readings, device compatibility, and insurance coverage. Reach out to other diabetics. Compile facts and consider opinions to make diabetes management manageable for you.
* Fingersticks required for diabetes treatment decisions if symptoms or expectations do not match readings.
The information contained in this blog is a compilation of thoughts, opinions, and personal experience. Information is researched and gathered from reputable sources, but Ice Cream and Insulin is not responsible for errors or omissions in reporting or explanation. The discussions should not be considered advice, medical or otherwise. If you have concerns about your health, the information should not be used to self-diagnose or self-treat. Please consult a physician before making any changes to your medical plan.