Continuous Glucose Monitors: Are They Right for You?

Learn what Continuous Glucose Monitors are, how they work, the potential benefits of using one, and what to consider before you get one.

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    • Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs) are small, wearable devices that continuously measure a person’s blood-glucose levels
    • Largely used in place of traditional glucose meters and regular finger sticks 
    • A sensor just under the skin measures the tissue-glucose levels in real time; CGMs are mostly worn on the upper arm or abdomen
    • The levels are then relayed to a receiver, smartphone or watch, or insulin pump which displays the readings 
    • Fewer finger sticks
    • Shows where your glucose is NOW and where it is trending
    • Alerts you when your blood sugar is too low and too high 
    • You need to wear the CGM all the time (24/7) to get the most benefit
    • Glucose readings are available all the time—this can be overwhelming for some people
    • They provide more glucose data to share with healthcare providers and family members 

CGM Systems Available in the United States

  Abbott FreeStyle® Libre 2 / Libre 3 Dexcom G6® Medtronic Guardian™ Connect Senseonics Eversense E3®
Ages 4+ 2+ 2+: Guardian Sensor 3 with Guardian Link 3 transmitter. 14+: Guardian Sensor 3 with Guardian Connect transmitter. 18+
How It Attaches to the Body Sensor is inserted in one step, and integrated adhesive holds it in place. Sensor is inserted with the Dexcom auto applicator and integrated adhesive holds the sensor in place. The transmitter is then attached to the sensor. Sensor is inserted with the use of a Medtronic one-press insertion aid, then the sensor and transmitter are held in place by an outer adhesive. The sensor is inserted by a trained health care provider in the upper arm. The transmitter is worn over the sensor and is held in place by an adhesive patch.
Location Back of arm Abdomen, back of the upper arm (2+), or upper buttocks (2-17) Abdomen or buttocks (2-13), Abdomen or arm (14+) Upper arm
Automatic Reading   No Yes Yes Yes
How to View Data FreeStyle Libre reader or Smartphone (LibreLink app for iOS or Android or FreeStyle Libre 2 or 3 app for iOS) Smartphone (Dexcom CLARITY for iOS or Android), smartwatch, or Dexcom receiver Smartphone (Guardian Connect app for iOS or Android) Smartphone (Eversense Mobile app for iOS or Android)
High or Low Blood Glucose Alerts Yes Yes Yes Yes
How to Share Data with Family Members LibreLinkUp app Dexcom G6 app (“Share” feature) or Dexcom Follow app CareLink website Eversense NOW app
How Many Fingersticks to Calibrate None None 2 per day 2 per day
How Long the Sensor is Used 14 days 10 days 7 days Up to 6 months
Connects to Insulin Pump No Tandem t:slim X2™ or Omnipod 5® MiniMed™ 770G or 630G No    
More Information  Freestyle Libre website Dexcom website Medtronic Guardian Connect website Eversense website

Getting a CGM

If you think a CGM might be right for you, consult with your physician. Visit DiabetesWise.org for information about:

  • Other people’s experiences using each type of CGM
  • Key questions to ask your diabetes care team
  • Support resources

Consult JDRF’s Health Insurance Guide to learn about insurance coverage of CGMs.

Other Resources

Learn more about the FreeStyle Libre 2, and read the story of Hannah M., a graduate student who has been using CGM technology since elementary school but now uses a FreeStyle Libre 2.

Consult other JDRF and Med-IQ T1D resources for healthcare professionals

 

Original content developed by Med-IQ in collaboration with JDRF.

 

Content developed by JDRF with financial support from Abbott, the makers of FreeStyle Libre 2.