November is National Diabetes Month: Continuous glucose monitoring option

November is National Diabetes Month. The Veterans Memorial Hospital Diabetes Management Program offers Continuous Glucose Monitoring as an option to help medical providers fine-tune their patients’ diabetes treatment plan, giving patients optimal control of their diabetes and their life.
Continuous glucose monitoring is used to determine what a patient’s blood glucose levels are continuously, 24 hours a day, even while they sleep. When the data is downloaded at the end of the study, there are a total of 288 blood sugar readings available over a 24-hour time span. The information is able to be transferred into graphs which can show the healthcare providers how a patient’s blood sugar trends throughout each day.

Once a physician has ordered a Continuous Glucose Monitoring Study, the diabetes educator is able to insert a tiny glucose sensor on the back of the patient’s arm. This procedure is quick and painless. The sensor is about the size of a quarter and lies relatively flat to the patient’s skin. The sensor is worn for seven to 14 days, then the information in the sensor is downloaded by the diabetes educator, who then generates a graphical report that can be shared with the patient’s provider. This information is a useful tool in modifying the patient’s medications, meal planning and activity routine to improve blood sugar control.

Persons utilizing the continuous glucose monitor are asked not to change their daily routine in any way while the sensor is in place.  Most private insurance companies as well as Medicare and Medicaid will help cover Continuous Glucose Monitoring studies for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes when they are medically necessary and ordered by a physician.  A patient may check with their individual plan benefits for their specific coverage, if desired.

“The Continuous Monitoring System has been an extremely useful tool in helping our diabetes patients gain better control of their blood sugars,” states Angie Mettille, RN, CDE, Diabetes Educator at Veterans Memorial Hospital. “If you have been struggling to meet your hemoglobin A1c and blood sugar goals, the Continuous Glucose Monitor can help you and your healthcare provider figure out what changes are needed with your diabetes treatment. It can also be useful to anyone that has frequent, unexplained low blood sugars which can be extremely dangerous and frightening for you and your loved ones.  I would encourage anyone who is having difficulty managing their diabetes to ask their doctor about this simple, painless procedure.”

For more information on the new continuous glucose monitoring system offered by the Diabetes Education Department at Veterans Memorial Hospital, call Angie Mettille RN, CDE at 563-568-3411 ext 172.

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