person wearing continuous glucose monitor

CGMs Show Promise for Type 1 Diabetes

New research finds that continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) can greatly improve the lives of those with Type 1.

What are CGMs? These devices allow you to measure glucose levels in real-time all day and night. There is a tiny electrode inserted under your skin to measure glucose levels in your tissue. It then wirelessly sends the data to a monitor (either a pager-like device or a smartphone or smartwatch). This continuous monitoring allows for better quality of life because adjustments can be made quickly to avoid severe highs or lows.

A new study by the University of Chicago Medicine and published in Diabetes Care shows that CGMs offer significant benefits for those with Type 1. The study compared people using CGMs to those using traditional testing strips. CGMs improved blood glucose control and reduced the amount of low blood sugar episodes. The use of continuous glucose monitors also improved quality of life overall, and it’s estimated that they can lengthen quality life span by an average of 6 months of good health.

The devices are more expensive overall than manual testing; however, the author of the study Elbert Huang, MD said, “While it does cost additional money, the costs saved by lower risk of complications offset the upfront costs.”

CGMs “empower patients to manage their own health.” With more advances, CGMs will hopefully be available to more people and more cost-effective in the near future.