Blood Glucose Monitoring Devices for CF-Related Diabetes: Part 2

In Part 1 of the article, we discussed the prevalence of CF-related diabetes (CFRD) and the role of blood glucose monitoring. In this part, I will outline the two main types of blood glucose monitoring devices: those that require self-monitoring, and those that are continuous in nature.

Types of blood glucose monitoring devices

1. Self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG)

Self-monitoring of blood glucose is what it sounds like: you, the user, is in control of when you test your sugar levels.  It requires purchasing a device that measures your blood sugar levels.1 These kind of devices require a finger-prick to collect a blood sample. The device comes with a meter and a lancing device for pricking your finger. You would also need to purchase test strips and lancets. There are many different types of SMBG on the market, with the most common brands being Contour and One Touch products. A few notes on SMBG devices:1

  • Not all devices have the same accuracy; some are more accurate than others.
  • Not all devices require finger prick samples; newer products on the market may allow for other sites for the blood sample to be retrieved from. This may be especially useful for people who find that the continuous finger pricking causes bruising and pain in their fingers.

2. Continuous blood glucose monitoring (CGM)

This type of monitoring involves wearing a device for a set period of time. CGM can be helpful for people who are having problems managing their diabetes. It may also be the preferred option for children and anyone who is at high risk of hypoglycemia.1 Common brands include the Freestyle Libre and Dexcom.

Continuous blood glucose monitoring tends to be more expensive upfront. For those with third-party insurance or public funding, the criteria for coverage often requires that one is unable to tolerate the SMBG devices. A few notes on continuous blood glucose monitors:1

  • Unlike the SMBG system, these products do not measure the plasma (or blood) glucose. Rather, they measure the glucose found in interstitial fluid, which is not exactly the same as that found in blood. There is 15 min lag with interstitial fluid glucose recordings. This means that if you use a SMBG device which detected high blood sugar levels, your CGM device will not detect this for 15 mins later.
  • The product involves a device that is inserted in a certain area of your body, such as the upper arm. The sensor on these devices must be changed every 1-2 weeks depending on the product. The readings are then captured on an installed smart phone app or a monitor.

Wrapping up

Overall, both CGM and SMBG can be valuable tools to help manage CFRD. The important thing to consider is that these products are mainly tools, and will not treat the diabetes on their own. Rather, they provide valuable information that helps the user guide their treatment regimen.

Do you have CFRD? What device do you use currently to monitor your blood glucose? Share your experiences below!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Cystic-Fibrosis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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