For diabetics regular blood glucose level monitoring is highly important. As a part of the diabetes management plan it is necessary to undertake home monitoring of glucose levels. There are several different glucose meters available that can enable monitoring of the glucose levels at specific times. These glucometers provide you the facility to store the test results, about 500 to even 1000 results; along with the time and date they were undertaken. Now the glucose meter manufacturers are trying to develop meters to monitor the glucose levels continuously. These meters give results certain number of times throughout the day. There are few blood glucose continuous monitors available and a comparison of the meters can help us find which would be best suited to satisfy our needs.
Blood glucose continuous monitor comparison
The continuous monitors enable recording of the blood glucose levels throughout the day and night. The person with diabetes can continue with his normal activities while the system records the average blood glucose levels for up to 3 days. The monitor involves inserting a sensor under you skin on your abdomen. This insertion is not very painful and quick. Every 10 seconds the sensor measures the glucose in the tissue and sends the information to a monitor. This pager sized device is attached to a belt and the information is send via wire to it from the sensor. The system records average glucose every 5 minutes for up to 72 hours.
It is very important to remember that the continuous monitor is not for day to day monitoring but it is mainly intended to discover trends in the glucose levels. A major advantage is that the trends and fluctuations can be identified which otherwise may go unnoticed with HbA1C test. It means that if there are extremely low levels in the night when you are asleep they would be recorded which otherwise would have gone unrecorded. Right now the MiniMed Device from Medtronics is the popular CGMS approved by FDA. Others are Guardian Real Time continuous glucose monitoring system, Dexcom Seven and Abbott’s FreeStyle Navigator.
The sizes of each of the CGMS vary to some extent, as does the size of monitor and the transmitter. The Guardian Real Time and MiniMed Paradigm have a sensor life of 3 days while that of Dexcom Seven is 7 days and Abbott’s FreeStyle navigator has 5 days. The start-up initialization time for each of them is 2 hours. The calibration time for the Guardian and MiniMed is 2 hours after insertion within next 6 hours after first and then after every 12 hours. The Dexcom seven has to be calibrated every 12 hours with OneTouch Ultra. The Abbott’s Freestyle navigator can be calibrated at 10, 12, 24 and 72 hours after insertion. It does not require any calibration for the final 2 days of the 5 days it is worn. The directional trends are displayed as 3, 6, 12, 24 hour graphs for the Guardian, 1, 3, or 9 hour glucose graph for the Dexcom Seven. The Minimed has the capability to display 3 and 24 hour graphs while the Abbott’s Navigator has 5 TRU Directional glucose arrows that indicate rate and direction of change. Each one has its own set of software to download data and manage it. The transmitter and battery life of all the meters may vary to some extent.
There is no specific way to manage diabetes. You can make strategic use of the CGMS and the regular finger stick glucose meters depending upon the advice of your doctor. Understand the pros and cons of each meter and decide accordingly.
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