Continuous Glucose Monitors

Published on June 22, 2021

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As a step ahead from our last blog on non-invasive blood glucose monitors, here are a few lines that describe another step towards freedom from the finger-prick tests for diabetes patients. We are referring to the continuous glucose monitoring systems that are particularly useful to check the glucose levels in patients on insulin treatment.

A system that continuously monitors the glucose levels and helps to make treatment decisions can be a boon to diabetes patients. Even better would be one that could be coupled with an automatic insulin device to deliver the required dose. The good news is that such devices are a reality!

The continuous glucose monitoring systems measure the glucose levels from the interstitial fluid, the fluid that surrounds the body cells, and not from the blood. A sensor is attached to the skin with an adhesive; its needle passes into the space just below the skin. The readings may be obtained through a dedicated reading device or an app on the smartphone.

The continuous glucose monitors currently available in the market are of different complexities.  In case of the simpler ones, the sensors must be scanned repeatedly with the device to obtain the readings. Such devices may not be able to warn about changing glucose levels unless the scanning is done frequently. They could, however, avoid some of the daily finger-pricks, help the patient to monitor the glucose levels and adjust the lifestyle accordingly.

Some sensors are attached to transmitters that transmit the data wirelessly to the reading device.  The reading device can be set to give alerts when the glucose levels are beyond the normal range. The reading device must be kept in the vicinity of the patient, but repeated scanning is not required.

Perhaps the most advanced systems are those that are integrated with insulin pumps. The glucose levels obtained by the system are transmitted to the insulin pump, which then delivers the insulin to control the glucose levels.

There are still some situations where the patient needs to reach out for the traditional glucometer to measure the blood glucose, for example, when the continuous glucose monitor shows normal readings but the patient experiences symptoms of high or low blood glucose levels. The cost of the devices and the sensors which require regular replacement may not be suitable for all the eligible patients, but such systems are a positive step towards a stress-free life for diabetes patients on insulin therapy!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor or healthcare professional, or the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her existing physician. Always consult your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider for any medical condition, procedure, or treatment.