Is the CGM worth it?

I just got through filling out the paperwork for the Dex… and I’m starting to wonder, is the CGM really worth it? My A1c is fine at 6.8, but there is no stability in my numbers. I’m almost certain that this is 100% because of my crazy lifestyle, constant traveling, and love of good food… none of which I want to give up entirely!

My question is… is it worth having another thing attatched to me? Will it just stress me out and overload me with numbers? Or will it really help me find the stability I am looking for in my numbers?

Let me know what you all think of CGMs!

It is definitelhy worth a try…ESPECIALLY because you are so active. i wore mine reiligiously for 6 mos. b/c I was having overnight lows ( three times my wife had to call the EMT’s), we got past that when the dex accuracy was soooo far off. Sometimes by as much as 200 points (I kid you not). The worst thing is for about 2 weeks in a row, the alarm was waking us up at all hours, I would take a bg (the dex was reading 50 or lower) and my sugar was 150 or so. Just couldnt take it anymore…but, like I said, everyone is different, and Peace of Mind is sooo important. If you are running, skiing (my favorite) or any watersports…its nice to have reassurance that you are not gonna go belly up! (accuracy issues aside). And, as I have said in a few other posts, It seemed ot me the accuracy got bettter the longer one leaves a sonsor in! (again…everyone is different, so dont take my word) (but, take my word).

I’m seriously considering one and this is why. . . I used to feel my BG dropping and by the time it got to 70 I was shaking and felt terrible. After just 4 years with diabetes I don’t start feeling shaky until I’m in the low 50’s and sometimes mid 40’s which is troublesome. I think it’s imperative to have a low and high BG reading to warn you in advance. One day I was gardening and I felt fine and all of a sudden I felt so dizzy, nauseated and shaky. I just about made it in to test my BG and it was 28. I was absolutely TERRIFIED that I’d go into a coma and I was alone so thank goodness I was able to get to my juice quickly enough to bring it up. I also fear driving and having a sudden low so you see I really think it’s a great idea to have a little alarm go off to warn you before you either pass out or go into a coma. I don’t mean to be so extreme, this is just my opinion. Good luck no matter what you do.

Thanks for the insight…I’m not so worried about false lows as I am about the real ones!
even though I’ve only been diabetic for a little over a year now, I was hypoglycemic before too, I don’t notice lows until they are between 60-40…sometimes its easy to catch a low while it’s starting, but if I miss the 70-60 window, I rarely notice until I’m incoherent around 40…

I love the idea of being reassured of my blood sugars, even if it’s just an idea of which way they are trending…
The other, probably more important (but also more selfish) reason I would love the Dex is because I do love my occasional drink or two (or three or four) and I would really love to avoid the overnight lows that a mixed drink usually provides…

If you can realize that it is not the end all, and that it takes more time for numbers to go down than up, youll find a CGM useful …Seriously its a little rough not becoming Trigger Happy on the bolus button with a CGM, but if you can mentally realize in your head that, it will take 3-4 hours to get back to where you should be and not panic you might find youll become a bit more stable with your CGM… If i see an alert on the CGM, i do test my BG, then go from there… Ok has my bolus kicked in… or did i take it… if so, i might give myself a unit or two and wait it out, then do a correction in 3 hours… if i didnt bolus, figure out a correction and dose… also realize food has two peaks… your not gonna get em dead on at first…

Iv woken up to surprise lows i never knew i had…
CGMS is a good thing. if you can relax and think through its alarms… also you want to be a bit loose on the CGM settings untill you get used to it… Youll burn out from the excessive high alarms… when in fact its just your food peaking and your not quite in sync with the bolus.

Thanks Jake! I’ll keep all of this in mind…I’ve got an Endo appointment in the first week of August so I’ll talk to her about all of this…
Thanks again!

Jake’s comment about the food is a very good example of how I use mine. I have been able to figure out what foods spike me quickest, how high the spike goes, and how long the spike lasts. This info has helped me re-think some of the foods I eat (haven’t necessarily given any of them up, just quantities are different now), as well as how to bolus differently (both w/ time and duration) for certain foods. As long as you don’t take it as an “end all” as he mentioned, then it could potentially really help you w/ your lifestyle.
I wear mine for several weeks, and then lay off for a couple (partly b/c I put mine only on the back of my arms, and this is competitive real-estate for the pods too, and partly b/c keeping stuck on me and calibrated well can wear on me a little bit—so it’s best to take a break rather than get frustrated all the time.

For me, the CGM has given me invaluable information about my BG trends, especially during times when I wouldn’t normally test. Like Bradford said, it’s also taught me a lot more about how particular foods affect my BG and the timing of my postmeal spikes. It has helped a bit with highs and lows because it is absolutely fantastic at showing trends. I’m given so much data, that I’m still trying to figure out the best way to process and use what I’m learning day to day.

The main problems are twofold for me. First, it is great at showing trends, but it isn’t always accurate. Second, to go along with the accuracy issue, there is always a period of lag between changes in whole blood BG and your BG being read by the CGM through interstitial fluid.

Bottom line. I wanted to get a CGM to help cut down on the number of times I test and to help me fight lows and highs, especially due to my work outs. In both cases, it’s been hit and miss and frustrating at times but when it works it’s great for either or those reasons.

Regardless, I absolutely love having it because it means having the kind of real time data, with a time lag actually, that is impossible to get any other way. It’s just another added dimension of freedom to be able to glance at my receiver to monitor my BG instead of having to stop whatever I’m doing to do a fingerstick. I find that getting the most out of my CGM, however, means learning to anticipate what is happening based upon what information the CGM is giving me more than actually letting the CGM tell me absolutely what is happening, if that makes sense.

I had the CGM, and I had a negative experience with it. First off, let me state that I have fibromyalgia as well as diabetes. I had to discontinue any and all meds with acetaminophen in them, and boy did the pain come back in full force! As far as the CGM went, it woke me up a lot at night when my blood sugar would fluctuate between high and low. This is just my opinion for what it’s worth… and being honest, the CGM did stress me out and constantly overloaded me with numbers, especially since there is an error percentage of 15% or so…

I stopped by to read this discussion and Melissa’s post caught my eye.
I’ve been chatting to people all week about getting a CGMS.
I also have fibromyalgia and Arthritis Tylenol is the best thing I can take if I dont want to upset my stomach with Advil or go on major pain meds.
My endo also said if you tend to be a bit stressed by too much information, or too obsessive, you may not like the CGMS.
I think Melissa, your reply really nailed it for me.
I dont have lows so low that I need assistance, I have a not the best A1c, but this may be due to bit of gastroparesis (they called it gastropathy). I think if I utilize my pump features more, I could do better all on my own.
Next summer my warranty will be up and I’ll be looking into what’s on the market.
But maybe giving up the CGMS idea, isnt such a bad thing.
I’m glad I read through this, following your Twitter feed.
PS I am not on the Pod, though may consider it one day.
But you all have no idea how good it was to read something from a person with fibro, who tried the CGMS and it didnt go so well.
For the reasons I was wondering about!

Thanks for your story! I rarely (if ever) use acetaminophen, so that might not be such an issue for me, though I can imagine how hard that must have been for you!
I’ve really got to think about the stress of all the numbers!

what I am gathering is that…
If you use the CGM as a tool, one to learn from your habbits, establish how your body responds to your daily life. One with which you can see trends and help balance sugars in times of stress/instability, to predict lows at times when one might not be able to check their BG traditionally.
An end to fingersticks, a tool with which to bolus & alter your basal rates, Not an end to low BGs, or, for that matter High BGs

Questions I still have: even though the CGMs may not be accurate in terms of actual numbers, are they accurate in tems of wich way BGs are trending? Or will they tell you you are trending up when, in fact, you are headed down?


Maia, my CGM has: 1) completely randomized the number of fingersticks I do (some days I only need 1 or 2, others I’ll do 10 because my CGM is telling me my sugars are all over the place), 2) Definitely helped refine my basal rates (I realized I was going low nearly ever night and then rebounding in the morning, I dropped the basals at night instead of increasing them in the morning and fixed both problems!), 3) Can help in bolusing (when I see it trending I know to bolus rather than just bolusing when I happen to do a fingerstick, 4) Doesn’t end high or low BG’s but does drastically reduce the severity because you catch them much sooner. My A1C when from 6.7 to a consistent 6.0 on the CGM and I have drastically reduced the range between my highs and lows. The CGM has been even more useful to me than my pump (probably because I got it after the pump, I don’t think it would have been as useful without the pump but it probably would still have been the most useful diabetes tool I’ve ever had). I pay less than $500 a year for my pump, insulin, and all pump supplies, my CGM will cost me $1100 next year. I have decided that it’s absolutely worth it.

I would say mine accurately shows me which way my BGs are trending the majority of time. Most of the time, it accurately shows how fast it is changing. There are times when it is absolutely off, but that will usually be when the sensor is either newly inserted or crapping out.

I have noticed, though, that if my numbers are trending up or down very slowly, say a couple of points every five minutes when the sensor takes a reading, my receiver will show a flat arrow even though, over enough time, I’ll have significant changes in my BG.

You’re welcome, Maia. I think you have the right idea, and there is some GREAT reccomendations here. I wanted to comment further on my earler post…of course, it is much easier to deal with being woken up (rudely) a few times a night than being woken up (even more rudely) by an EMT team in yourf bedroom.(Ive had both happen plenty of times) And yes, I do thnk the CGM does give you pretty good info on trends vs. accurate static (one time) readings. And, the CGM copanies witll state outright and upfront that tbese instruments should NOT replace regular blood tests, but, as FHS states earlier, it can be useful in reducing the number of times one has to test a day, if you just use it as an indicator (ie testing when the alarm goes off) and if you think of it this way…You will have even fewer numbers to think about all day! IN any case, Good LUck, PEACE and keep us posted!

I think the CGM will accurately show which way your BGs are trending, as long as you take into account the other things you’ve got going on. For example, it says you’re 180 and trending up, but you just bolused to combat the high. Because of the delay, you may actually start trending down (depending on how quickly the insulin enters your system and combats the high) but the CGM (b/c it’s measuring interstitial and not intraarterial glucose) will have a delay so it may continue to trend upward for a little bit before it “realizes” the downward trend b/c of the insulin you bolused. I am sure there are other similar examples, but that’s probably about the only one that you’d need to keep in mind.
Overall, yes it’s pretty accurate w/ the trending, and can be a good thing to have around!

Rebecca, that is so encouraging!
I know the danger of these focused groups on Tu is that it’s often a forum for complaint, but its really good to hear that the CGMs really ARE working for some people! It sounds like our finances are about the same, too, to that’s a good indicator of what I might be paying for the CGM.
It sounds to me like you are getting from the CGM what I hope to get from it!
Thanks so much!

Jeeze, sounds like you want some of the same peace of mind I am looking for! Good luck!

Ahhhhh very interesting! I’ll keep that in mind! I am fine with some inaccuracy if the trends are at least going the right direction!

Will do Steve!