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 Approved in the United States

  Abbott FreeStyle® Libre 2 Dexcom G6® Medtronic Guardian™ Connect Senseonics Eversense®
Ages 4+ 2+ 2+ 18+
How Does It Attach to the Body? Sensor is inserted in 1 step, and integrated adhesive holds it in place   Sensor is inserted in 1 step, the transmitter is attached to the sensor, and integrated adhesive holds the sensor and transmitter in place   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   Sensor needs to be inserted by a health care provider, then the transmitter sits outside the body and is held in place by an adhesive  
Location Back of arm   Abdomen, arm, or upper buttocks Abdomen, back, or arm (14+) Upper arm
Automatic Reading   No Yes Yes Yes
How Do I View Data? Reader or Smartphone (LibreLink app for iOS or Android or FreeStyle Libre 2 app for iOS)   Smartphone (Dexcom CLARITY for iOS or Android), smartwatch, or receiver Smartphone (Guardian Connect app for iOS or Android) Smartphone (Eversense Mobile app for iOS or Android)
Alerts Yes   Yes Yes Yes
How Do I Share Data with Family Members? LibreLinkUp app Dexcom G6 app CareLink website Eversense NOW app
How Many Fingersticks to Calibrate? None None 2 per day 2 per day
How Long is the Sensor Used? 14 days 10 days 7 days 90 days
Automated Insulin Delivery and/or Insulin Pump? No Tandem t:slim X2™ or Omnipod DASH® MiniMed™ 770G or 630G No
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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.

Download JDRF’s CGM Fact Sheet [PDF] to compare the different FDA-approved 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.