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Driving And Checking Your Blood Sugars Using A Cgm Or Flash

No-needle glucose check

Some drivers can use a flash glucose monitor or CGM to check their sugar levels when driving, but you must confirm your levels with a finger-prick test if:

  • your blood sugar level is 4 mmol/l or below
  • you have symptoms of a hypo
  • your monitor gives a reading thats not consistent with the symptoms youre getting for example, if you feel like youre having a hypo but the reading doesnt show this.

The rules are different depending on what vehicle you want to drive, and how you treat your diabetes. Read about how diabetes can affect driving or your driving licence.

Comparison To Other Devices

The FreeStyle Libre is referred to as a flash glucose monitoring system. Unlike other CGMs, like the Medtronic Guardian 3 and Dexcom G6, the FreeStyle Libre checks glucose levels every minute rather than every five minutes. It can also be worn for 14 days as opposed to seven days for the Medtronic Guardian 3 or 10 days for the Dexcom G6.

The FreeStyle Libre system does not require fingerprick calibrations. And, because there is no transmitter, the system costs less than other CGMs.

Whereas other CGM sensors can be placed on the belly and buttocks, the FreeStyle Libre is only approved for use on the back of the arm. If placed in other areas, the sensor may not work properly.

A newer CGM called the Eversense system offers continuous 90-day glucose monitoring. But sales of the device were halted in 2020 due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic but also to the fact that the device has to be implanted by a doctor.

How Finger Prick Checks Differ To Cgm/flash Readings

A finger prick check tells you what your blood sugar level is at that moment.

With a flash glucose monitor or CGM, whats being measured is the amount of sugar in the fluid surrounding your cells. This is called interstitial fluid. Its not quite as accurate as a finger prick test as it lags behind blood sugar levels by up to 15 minutes. And the difference between the blood sugar and CGM or flash reading is more likely to be greater when youre eating or exercising.

So even if youre offered a flash glucose monitor or CGM by your healthcare team,its important that you still get your diabetes kit on prescription including your blood glucose meter to let you do finger prick checks. “

“I found that pricking my finger up to ten times a day was challenging and sometimes painful so I got the freestyle libre 2 sensor which has helped a huge tonne. Alfie, 15

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When It’s Okayand Not Okayto Check From Alternate Sites

Alternate site testing should only be used when your blood sugar is stable. For example:3

  • Immediately before a meal

Always check from your fingertip, however, when blood sugar may be changing:3

  • Following a meal, when blood sugar is rising quickly
  • Whenever you think your blood sugar might be low or falling

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When Should I Test My Blood Sugar

You may need to check your blood sugar several times a day, such as before meals or exercise, at bedtime, before driving, and when you think your blood sugar levels are low.

Everyone is different, so ask your doctor when and how often you should check your blood sugar. If you’re sick, you’ll probably need to test your blood sugar more often.

Tips For Checking Your Blood Sugar With Less Pain

Fingertips have more nerve endings, so this part of the finger tends to be the most sensitive.

If you use a finger prick to check your blood sugar level, a few techniques can make the process less painful whether youre using a glucometer or a continuous glucose monitor.

Blood sugar testing is crucial to diabetes management because high or low blood sugar can cause severe complications. If too much blood sugar accumulates in your bloodstream, you can experience major complications such as:

  • difficulty speaking

Blood sugar can fluctuate throughout the day especially after meals, after exercising, and during stressful events. So its important to carefully monitor your blood sugar and keep it within a healthy range.

A blood sugar level less than 140 milligrams per deciliter , but greater than 70 mg/dL is typically considered in the target range.

You should check your blood sugar regularly, even if you arent experiencing symptoms of a high or low glucose level. Some people with high and low blood sugar dont have any symptoms.

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Other Meters Being Developed

Besides the above four CGMs, other meters are being developed that do not require blood samples. One such CGM is called GlucoTrack by Integrity Applications, which measures blood glucose via your earlobe. However, it hasnt yet been FDA approved.

Other types of technologies may be seen soon to help improve diabetes management without the need for finger pricks. However, standalone smartwatches, contact lenses, and other buzzworthy devices havent yet proven to accurately measure blood glucose.

Flash Sensors And Cgm Sensors

Living with a Freestyle Libre NFC No-Prick Diabetic Blood Glucose Monitoring system

With a flash glucose monitor, sensors should be worn on the arms only. And we recommend that they arent placed over areas with tattoos as this could impact your results. With a CGM, you can wear the sensor on different parts of the body, such as your abdomen.

The sensors dont normally need to be taken off. You can usually wear them in the bath, shower and during sports. But some people do have problems with them falling off. There are adhesives you can buy to keep them in place.

You cannot remove a sensor for a while once it has come off you need to replace it with a new one.

How often you have to change the sensor will depend on the type of model youre using and the manufacturers instructions. Youll usually need to change it at least once every 14 days.

Its quick and painless to put on a sensor. You insert them just under the skin using an applicator.

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Cgms Used By The Nhs Or To Buy

The Freestyle Libre 3 is a CGM which is available on the NHS but not yet available to buy.

These are some of the other CGMs available to buy or available on the NHS.

Dexcom G7 licensed for those aged two and over

Dexcom One licensed for those aged two and over

Dexcom G6 licensed for those aged two and over

Dexcom G5 licensed for those aged two and over

Glucomenday licensed for those aged six and over

Guardiam Connect no age restriction

Some CGMs work with insulin pumps – see information on these integrated systems.

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Pros And Cons Of Using A Flash Glucose Monitor Or Cgm

Diabetes technology is a wonderful thing, but it certainly isnt for everyone.

Some people feel uneasy about getting lots of data, and for some people it gives them more confidence. Weve got more information to help you work through these different feelings about using diabetes tech. And you can always call our helpline to ask questions or just to talk it through.

Advantages of Flash and CGM

Disadvantages of Flash and CGM

You dont need to do so many finger-prick checks and you can set alarms if your blood sugar goes too low or too high .

Its not always as accurate as doing a finger prick check and it can take a while to get used to using the technology

You can see trends, like when your sugar levels are starting to rise or drop, so you can take action earlier.

You can get overloaded with data, which can confuse or worry some people.

You can get your sugar levels in your target range more often as you have more information about when youre high and low.

You may find wearing the sensor irritating, you might not like the look of it, or showing people that you have diabetes.

You can see what your levels are like at times when you dont normally test, like during the night .

Your glucose levels can be shared with your diabetes team, so they can review and adjust your diabetes management. It also means that the information can be shared easily during virtual appointments.

Freestyle Libre 1 Sensors Ending Next Steps If This Affects You

No Fingerstick Necessary: FDA Approves Novel CGM System for Diabetes

If youre using Freestyle Libre 1 sensors and get these on the NHS your GP should switch your prescription to Freestyle Libre2 sensors

Thats because Abbott the manufacturer is discontinuing the original Freestyle Libre sensors by 31 December 2022.

If you buy Freestyle Libre original sensors, youll need to start buying Freestyle Libre 2 sensors. If you are registered with Abbott the manufacturer, youll get an email letting you know what to do.

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How Accurate Is Alternate Site Testing

The fingertips are an obvious site for testing. However, the accuracy of alternate site testing results has been compared by a number of trials in recent years.

According to reports, routine blood glucose level testing before meals or two or more hours after meals from alternate sites are equivalent to fingertip testing.

However, glucose arrives faster in the fingertips than in the arms.

Therefore, testing when blood glucose is falling rapidly or rising rapidly is likely to be less accurate from alternate sites.

Unfortunately, this could be quite dangerous and healthcare professionals advise using the fingertips for non-routine blood glucose testing.

Many experienced people with diabetes advocate changing their testing sites depending on the type of testing underway.

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Can I Use My Blood Glucose Meter For Alternate Site Testing

Alternate site testing is not possible with all blood glucose meters. Newer machines only require a smaller drop of blood to provide accurate blood glucose readings from other parts of the body.

The user manual for blood glucose meters will outline which other sites in the body can be used to obtain a blood sample.

Blood Glucose Differences Between Left Arm And Right Arm Using A Continuous Glucose Monitor

Libre 2 Glucose Tester
The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details.
Verified September 2019 by University of the Pacific. Recruitment status was: RecruitingFirst Posted : September 25, 2019Last Update Posted : September 25, 2019

Interest in continuous glucose monitors is growing for use in evaluating real time glucose levels and in detecting extreme high and low values. A CGM is a small device primarily placed on the patient’s upper arm or abdomen to measure glucose at frequent time intervals. While the accuracy of these devices is researched extensively, there are no large-scale studies evaluating the differences in the right and left arm in terms of device placement. In addition, intermittent fasting has gained popularity due to potential health benefits including reductions in weight, cholesterol, and blood glucose. However, there remains a shortage of studies researching the effect of short-term intermittent fasting on body fat.

The purpose of this study is to see if there is a difference between glucose levels in the right arm and left arm and to examine if short-term intermittent fasting may impact an individual’s body fat percentage.

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What Are The Advantages Of Using Cgm To Manage Diabetes

Using a CGM device can make it easier to manage Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Some people use CGM for a week to understand their blood sugar patterns. Most use CGM long-term.

A CGM device can:

  • Show you a bigger picture of how diabetes affects you: CGM measures glucose levels every few minutes. That data shows a more complete picture of how your blood sugar levels change over time. This information can help you and your provider better understand how things like food, activity, stress and illness impact your blood sugar levels.
  • Lead to more personalized care: CGM doesnt give the whole story of all the ways diabetes affects you. It tells you when glucose goes up or down, not why. But your provider can download CGM data from your device and review it for patterns and trends. They can then personalize your care based on what they learn.
  • Alert you to highs and lows: Most CGM devices send an alert when your glucose levels rise or fall a certain amount. With this information, you can make changes quickly. You may be able to treat or prevent highs or lows before they turn into a big problem.
  • Reduce how many fingerstick checks you need to do: CGM significantly reduces how many fingerstick tests youll need to do each day.

How Does A Flash Glucose Monitor And Cgm Work

Flash glucose monitors and continuous glucose monitors let you check your blood sugar levels without you having to prick your fingers.

You wear a small sensor on your body day and night that reads your blood sugar levels so you can see the information on your mobile, or other device. If someone helps you look after your diabetes, their mobile can be linked up too.

With a CGM and the latest flash glucose monitor , you can also set an alarm to sound if your blood sugar levels go too low or too high.

This can also be set up to sound on someone elses mobile, for example, a parent or carers.

One of the other main benefits of a flash glucose monitor and CGM is being able to review what your blood sugar levels do every minute of the day and night. With the charts and graphs, you can start to see and understand how food, activity, and other things affect your blood sugar levels.

“It’s a real mental health break knowing what your blood sugar levels are doing at any one time.” Matt

Freestyle Libre 1 sensors are being phased out if this affects you see the next steps.

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