CGM vs Traditional Glucose Monitor

What is the Freestyle Libre?

The Freestyle Libre is a type of wearable sensor used by individuals with diabetes to monitor their glucose levels continuously throughout the day. The system consists of a small sensor worn on the skin, which measures glucose levels in the interstitial fluid. Users can scan the sensor with a compatible device to get real-time glucose readings, historical data, and trends, helping them manage their diabetes more effectively.

What are the differences between a CGM and a traditional glucose monitor?

The main differences between a CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) and a traditional glucose monitor (also known as a blood glucose meter) are as follows:

Continuous Monitoring: CGMs provide continuous and real-time glucose readings, typically measuring glucose levels every few minutes throughout the day and night. In contrast, traditional glucose monitors provide a single point-in-time measurement whenever the user tests their blood glucose by pricking their finger.

No Finger Pricks: CGMs are minimally invasive and do not require frequent finger pricks for glucose testing. The CGM sensor is inserted under the skin, usually on the arm or abdomen, and remains in place for several days. This eliminates the need for frequent painful fingersticks, which are typically required with traditional glucose monitors.

Trend Data: CGMs offer valuable trend data, showing how glucose levels change over time. Users can track their glucose trends and patterns, helping them make more informed decisions about their diabetes management. Traditional glucose monitors only provide a single glucose value at the time of testing, without any trend information.

Alerts and Alarms: CGMs can be set up to provide alerts and alarms for high or low glucose levels. This feature can be especially helpful in preventing severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) episodes. Traditional glucose monitors do not have this real-time alerting capability.

Convenience: CGMs provide a more convenient way to monitor glucose levels, as users do not need to manually test their blood glucose multiple times a day. The continuous data can be easily accessed on a compatible device, such as a smartphone or a dedicated receiver.

It’s important to note that while CGMs offer significant advantages in terms of continuous monitoring and trend data, traditional glucose monitors are still commonly used for occasional or spot checks and remain valuable tools in diabetes management. The choice between a CGM and a traditional glucose monitor depends on individual preferences, lifestyle, and healthcare recommendations.

Get help deciding what device will work best for you. Schedule a consultation with a Diabetes Educator.