Continuous Glucose Monitoring

A tool for living well with diabetes
Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems measure glucose levels around the clock. People with diabetes can view their glucose trends and use that information to make informed treatment decisions.

How does CGM work?
A CGM user inserts a tiny sensor under the skin to check glucose levels in tissue (interstitial) fluid. The sensor works for several days and may last up to a week before it must be removed and replaced. A transmitter is connected to the sensor. It sends glucose readings from the sensor to a wireless monitor. The CGM user checks blood glucose levels with a standard meter and then enters those values to calibrate the monitor, which varies from less than one to two times per day, depending on the monitor.

A CGM user can usually download the CGM device to show sensor glucose readings and create reports to share with his or her diabetes care team. Some providers will download the software for CGM users at their appointment. Many will have the CGM user download the information at home and bring the reports to his or her appointment. These reports provide information that you and your diabetes care team can use to adjust your diabetes treatment plan and, if needed, correct any problems. 

Who is a candidate for CGM?
CGM can be a valuable tool for those who want to improve their diabetes management. CGM devices are best for those who are willing to dedicate time and effort to learn how to use the device. CGM can improve your understanding of factors that affect your blood glucose trends, such as diet, exercise, medications, and stress. CGM can also decrease anxiety about high and low glucose levels. However, CGM isn't for everyone. Some people feel that CGM provides them with more glucose information than they are prepared to use. Others may feel uncomfortable using the technology. Working with a diabetes care team experienced with CGM can help you overcome these potential obstacles.

Will my health insurance cover a personal CGM?
Insurance coverage for CGM technology is steadily increasing, particularly for individuals with type 1 diabetes on insulin pump therapy. However, patients with gestational and type 2 diabetes are also obtaining reimbursement.

Each company's policy is different, and coverage varies for individual situations. Some factors that your insurance company may consider before deciding if you are eligible for CGM coverage include:

  • Type of diabetes (type 1, 2 or gestational)
  • Diabetes treatment (insulin injections/insulin pump therapy)
  • Pregnancy
  • Current level of diabetes control
  • Frequency of hypoglycemia
  • Hypoglycemia unawareness

What steps should I take if I am interested in using a CGM device?
Discuss CGM with your health care provider to determine whether it is appropriate for you. If you are found to be a good candidate, the staff of Laurel Endocrine and Thyroid Specialists will work with your insurance company to obtain coverage.