November is National Diabetes Month: Continuous Glucose Monitoring

The Veterans Memorial Hospital Diabetes Management Program began offering the Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) system to their patients with diabetes in 2008. Since its inception, the results have been extremely useful to the physicians as well as the patients, giving them optimal control of their diabetes and their life.

What is Continuous Glucose Monitoring?
Continuous glucose monitoring is used to determine what blood glucose levels are continuously, 24 hours a day, and not just after a meal when a person regularly tests their own blood sugar level. Up until this point, the only way to obtain all of this information would be for a person with diabetes to take their own blood sugar test by pricking their finger about 288 times a day.

How does Continuous Glucose Monitoring work?
A tiny glucose sensor is placed under the patient’s skin in the stomach or hip area. A small recorder, about the size of a quarter, is then connected to the sensor. The device is worn for 72 hours.  The amount of glucose present in the system is measured and recorded continuously for that 72-hour time period.

At the end of three days, the information in the recorder is downloaded into the hospital’s computer program and shared with the healthcare provider who will interpret the information and make any needed adjustments to the diabetes treatment plan. This system can also be used for patients with hypoglycemic problems so they can actually see patterns that at certain times of the day or night that may need intervention.

What lifestyle changes need to be made while this monitor is in place?
Persons with diabetes are asked to not change their daily routine in any way while the monitor is in place. They can shower and bathe and participate in their usual daily activities. The patient will be asked to keep a daily log of the times they eat their meals or snacks, record their exercise and activity times and keep checking their blood glucose levels with their home meter at least four times a day.

For more information on the benefits of the continuous glucose monitoring system offered by the Diabetes Education Program at Veterans Memorial Hospital, call the Diabetes Department at 563-568-3411.

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