How to prolong life of the sensor

I haven’t had much luck getting my sensor restarted more than once (mine usually lasts 13-18 days), it usually dies before it’s due for the second restart but many people have managed to get it lasting 20-30+ days so I was wondering what could I do to prolong its life.

I find that once I start getting gaps that’s it, it never seems to recover after that. It may for an hour but go wonky again shortly afterwards.

I gather the following things could kill it quicker

  • wild fluctuations of BG and BG being out of range
  • sensor not securely taped down
  • dehydration (probably not specifically affecting sensor life but readings sometimes don’t show if dehydrated)

Any others?

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I think your screwed, Tedos. But, it will be interesting to see if anybody comes up with anything.

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Same here, but I am doing slightly worse…I think 13 days is about my average…16 or 17 days is my personal best so far. I’ve tried different locations and different levels of strongly taping and patching the sensor site but when the G6 sensor gives up it gives up. I’m still restarting every sensor, I figure 3 extra days is way better than zero. On the brighter side I am kind of awe struck at how accurate the G6 is with only a few calibrations after a restart.

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Yes that’s true. I also wonder whether each time you calibrate, it kills the sensor life a little bit :sweat_smile:. I calibrate about 4-6 times on the first 10 days then a lot more after 10 days but that’s mostly due to the fact that when there are gaps starting to appear my readings are really off.

Mine almost always last over 22 days, the average is pretty close to 26. But I have them go past 30 all the time. I can only tell you in particular what I do as that is not affecting the life of my sensors obviously. I always wear them on my arm, front and back.

The first sign of mine going is it losing it’s signal. By that day or the next it will start fluctuating by a lot no matter what I do.

I’m pretty sure calibrations doesn’t have anything to do with it. There are a few sensors I have calibrated a lot because I am OCD about wanting it 3-5 points higher than my meter number.

I do stay hydrated most days. I am an avid tea drinker by day and water drinker by night. Tea or water goes everywhere with me.

I use Skin Tac on the adhesive when I first apply it and then I touch it up all the time with a Q tip under the edges as needed. That is usually after I wash my hair (longer shower and I think the shampoo and conditioner loosen it easier) and after I snorkel. But sometimes it needs touching up. The edges start to come up and it gets harder to get them to adhere after a certain amount of time of constantly reapplying Skin Tac.

I also live in high humidity, warmer temps, we don’t have wild temperature changes if that has anything to do with it.

I rarely have readings over 160, if I do it’s less than 1% of the time. I try to stay under 140. So if you have higher readings maybe that makes a difference. I eat plenty of carbs, so that’s not it.

It could just be pure body chemistry. Alkaline/acidic? I am a vegan and always have a tendency to be in a really good alkaline range when I’ve tested in the past. :0)

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I’ve always suspected this is the largest factor that matters. I’m not quite that good yet, I usually run 98% 70-160, and I definitely go over 140 sometimes. I used to reliabily get 30 days from a sensor, but seems like lately it’s 24-26. It could be because Dexcom changed something, but I think it more likely just because I’ve had some other health issues interfering with BG control, and subsequently lost sensor life.

I’m also a huge water drinker. Most people are dehydrated and don’t even know it. In my previous profession we always had to advise our test patients to drink their water… And it was like pulling teeth! “But I don’t like water”, in a whine that would make a toddler proud. I don’t know if it’s changed, but the popular hydration protocol at the time was half your body weight (in pounds) in fluid ounces of water, every day. The average American adult male weighs nearly 200 lbs, so that would be 100 ounces of water daily. 85 fluid ounces for the average 170 lb American woman. (I had to look those weights up, had no idea the averages were that high. Google source may be wonky, but the math remains the same) It may have become stylish to carry a water bottle around, but I don’t believe many people are actually drinking that much. I became fanatical when I finally started to understand that you can’t move waste products and toxins out of your body when there’s no interstitial fluid and no excess fluid to flush the lymphatic system. I knew hydration was important for steady readings, but perhaps it does play a really critical role in sensor life, too.

I definitely think there’s a body chemistry element, too, though. Which unfortunately is outside our control. I’ve got a few control idols on this site, who I know haven’t gotten the same sensor life I have, despite having better diabetes management.

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It could be hydration. You’re right, most Americans are horrible about drinking fluids. And as of a couple of years ago we were still recommending half your body weight in fluids. But I used to point out to people that if that includes coffee or tea you have to double those fluids.

The alkalinity/acidity issue is pretty easy to solve by adding a high dose of greens daily. We used to recommend a green drink, which is easiest to get a high dose or greens that came in pills and it usually changes it to the right direction.

We just told them that CRAP doesn’t count. Caffeinated, Refined sugars, Alcohol, and Processed. Processed defined as “ingredients you can’t pronounce” on the label.

[Oh man, had to come back to edit this because I’ve been out of the game so long I forgot the “a” stood for alcohol]

Interesting theory about the greens, too. We rarely eat lunch in this house. We’re more big breakfast and dinner, and no time for lunch. We will often drink an Amazing Grass drink midday, though. I like the plain flavor with a little added citrus, because I can’t stomach sweet tasting drinks at all, but it comes in tons of flavors, too. Never really considered that it might have a beneficial affect on body chemistry. I just think of it as “instant salad”… and it’s way easier to carry out into the farm than a proper lunch.

Anyone with limited sensor life want to experiment with adding more greens and/or water to their diet??

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Wow 160, how do you do this with carbs? Mine tends to hit about 180-200. In sure it went higher before cgms because I was blind on my post meal readings but after being on sensor I keep an eye on it but it trends towards that reading.

I was probably dehydrated before but I’m consciously drinking more water after starting on cgm.

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How much are you drinking? I’m probably 1.5 to 2L a day (50 - 68 ounce). If you count things like milk and soup then I would definitely exceed the 100 ounce mark (I’m under 170lb though). But yeah I think i need to be drinking more.

@tedos The higher numbers boil down to timing of mostly prebolusing. I use my timer to make sure I don’t forget to eat in time. But I am pretty aggressive in treating anything that goes higher than I expect.

One thing that has helped me a lot is retirement, because I can get on my exercise bicycle at or before I hit 130 to prevent going too high most of the time. My high alert is set to 130, I didn’t do that suddenly I worked my way down to that alert number. I would love to set it at 125 now, but it won’t let you change by 5 points and I am too often at the low 120’s to have it come on at 120.

@Robyn_H We sold the test strips in the store, but we also would let a customers use a test strip to see what they were at. Green drinks work, it takes at least a few weeks or longer for some. Most people didn’t get close to consuming the recommended amount of veggies so it was good for them.

Amazing Grass is really good, I liked and used to recommend Sunny Greens Cleansing Greens, no sugar added but had an apple flavor and tasted really good especially for the non green drinkers, or Total Greens tablets.

I would be curious too if someone that is having sensor issues would try either greens or enough water to see what happens,

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I go between 120-125 lbs usually, so really I only need to drink like 60 ounces of water, but I drink way more than that. I don’t actually measure, but I carry around a 24 ounce Contigo travel cup all the time, and I refill that easily 4 times a day. And that’s not counting more flavorful drinks that I don’t contaminate my water bottle with.

Going by simple math, you should be drinking about 85 ounces of water a day, or 2.5 liters Personally, I think if you need to nickle and dime every ounce of fluid in your food to meet that criteria, then you haven’t created a satisfactory water drinking habit, yet

We don’t usually have to talk about salt in drinks, but while salt is an important nutrient, it would also fall into the CRAP category I mentioned earlier, because it’s dehydrating just like caffeine, refined sugars, alcohol, and processed chemical ingredients that need flushed from your body with… Water. So no, you can’t just count a bowl of campbell’s soup as water. If we’re talking condensed soup, where you know exactly how much water you add to it, I suppose you could count some, but not all of the water added. You have to account for the negative affect of the salt in the soup. However, not all soup is created equal. If we’re talking homemade soup made from homemade stock that has nothing other than water, bones, and the juices extracted from the vegetables in it… Then heck yeah, I’d let that pass for your water content. That’s liquid gold.

Milk I would also consider acceptable, but really shouldn’t be counted at full liquid value because of the fat, protein, and sugar suspended in the water.

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Yeah this, just the natural clear broth. The condense stuff is high in fat and I can see my sugars hitting the roof!

Okay I guess I have to work on my sensor life.

Yeah I also prebolus to the maximum wait time (ie, to the absolute borderline wait time that I don’t end up going low once I start eating) and still only manage to curb it before it hits the 180-200 mark - and alot of the time, I need to get a small bolus as it’s rising! :expressionless: I still haven’t worked out how to get a stable or less humpy line… i did about a handful of times and I couldn’t work out what it was I did differently so go figure!

Do you find that the overpatch adhesive loosens much easier on the back of the arm as opposed to the front or the side. It may have to do with sweat. I put the dexcom adhesive over it and it starts lifting on one side. Then I put a third party more sturdier tape over that, and after a while it starts to lift on the same side. That sensor ended a lot earlier than the rest, and it may have been due to the trauma it endured when i was trying to remove the tape.

I don’t use the overpatches. The Dexcom overpatch was ready to fall off within days for me. I tried some different companies like Grif Grips but I reacted badly to the adhesive. I just use Skin Tac it works great, I just have to keep touching it up.

I don’t sweat on my arms, well I’m sure I sweat but not noticeably. I haven’t noticed any difference on the back or the front of the arm in staying power. I like the front better because it’s easier to remove the transmitter. But I rotate to the back of the arm just because I want to keep it moving into fresh places.

Some of it is probably the difference of types of food that we eat then? I am a strict vegan. I still eat some junk, just vegan junk. But I probably eat a lot more veggies and fruits than you.

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I’m with you on BG, hydration, and greens… But I’m definitely not a vegan. We eat homegrown beef and chicken, and trade for pork and some other items grown within our homesteading community. My diet is VERY different from “average”, though. We only eat real food, grown naturally and happily, the way nature intended.

We are a permaculture farm, as are our friends we trade with. So that probably sets us apart from the norm food-wise. Think along the lines of organic, but without all the governmental BS and fewer loopholes to add crap to the food. We don’t grow or feed with any commercial or chemical products. The cows are grass finished. The grass was intentionally seeded with a mix of greens for optimum nutrition. The grass is only ever fertilized with a homebrewed mix called “compost tea”, which is primarily worm poop, molasses, and compost fermented with healthy bacteria. They spend their whole life in green fields. They never get injections (the rare emergency antibiotic if one gets sick excluded), see a feed lot, nor a bucket of corn. The chickens are primarily free range and scavenge most their food from the field plants, and insects in the compost pile. We do save the sunflower seeds from our summer sunflower wind-break to supplement their winter diet.

The fruit and vegetables we grow are similarly grown in a symbiotic food forests that fuels itself without external inputs… Not these perfect rows of single crops that rape the land of all it’s got, so it has to be pumped full of lab created supplements.

Point being, I don’t know how exactly this affects my body chemistry, but I’m sure it has to do something. Whether eating higher quality meat puts me physiologically on par with a vegan, I couldn’t tell you.

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This is amazing! There is so much pesticide, GMO, hormones and god knows what else in the food these days. A strawberry is big and tasteless nowadays and apples are yellow in the center despite looking great on the outside. I’m so jealous. You are right that this probably better for your body.

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@Robyn_H Meat is considered acidic causing. But I knew you grew a bunch of your own veggies and eat more veggies I think than a lot of other people.

An alternative to Skin Tac (which is likely very similar, but I’ve not used that) is IV Prep pads. They contain a bit of adhesive along with the alcohol. I use them for both pump infusion sets and sensors, and almost never have one come off (of course, I don’t go 150 days on a sensor either… :slight_smile: ) . I THINK that you need to leave an unwiped spot where your sensor pierces your skin, but that’s quite possible; you just need to make sure you have the rest of the sensor adhesive pad covered.

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