Everything You Need to Know About CGM

Aimée José, RN, CDCES
October 25, 2021
5 mins

“CGM” is short for “continuous glucose monitoring.” In 2006, Dexcom introduced its first real-time CGM system. And in less than 20 years, CGM has revolutionized the way diabetes is managed!

“In 1999, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first ‘professional’ CGM, with which the patient was blinded to glucose data collected for 3 days, and then the information was downloaded in the healthcare provider’s office for review.”

The benefits of CGM are countless. But most important is the ability to map and see your own glucose data every five to 15 minutes (depending on the system you use). Prior to CGM, you knew your blood glucose value only at the moment you checked it. With CGM, you can receive up to 288 readings per day. Some compare CGM to a personal navigation system that helps them stay on course throughout a day.  

What Are the Pieces of This Puzzle?

     • Transmitter

     • Sensor

     • Receiver / Reader

How Long Does a Sensor Last?

Depending on the system you choose, you will receive glucose values for anywhere from 10 to 14 days.

Can I Wear a CGM Sensor in the Water?

Yes. They are water resistant. 

What Happens If It Falls Off?

Life happens, and some skin types produce more oil than others. If your sensor does not last the full amount of time it is supposed to, call the respective company and they will replace it (usually at no cost).

Can I Travel with a CGM Sensor?

Yes, you can travel and know your CGM system will keep you safe! Do reference the individual company’s website to learn about specific guidance.

Are There Limitations When Wearing a CGM Device?

Typically with a CGM device you must avoid:

     • Magnetic imaging 

     • CT scans

     • Diathermy (high-frequency electrical heat)

     • Scuba diving  (check with your CGM company for specific specs on water use).

If you need to find a primary care physician who can connect you with great specialized diabetes care, Carbon Health is a great place to start. Make a same-day virtual appointment via our website or our mobile app.

Carbon Health’s medical content is reviewed and approved by healthcare professionals before it is published, but it is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Talk to your healthcare provider about questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition, and before making changes to your healthcare routine.

Aimée José, RN, CDCES

Carbon Health's Aimée José, RN, CDCES, holds two bachelor's degrees, one in nursing from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the other in psychology from Scripps College. Her specialty (and passion) is teaching intensive diabetes management, insulin pump therapy, continuous glucose monitoring, and combination therapies. Outside of clinical time, she also works as a clinical research nurse, is a Certified Pump Trainer, is a freelance writer for diabetes publications, and is actively involved in diabetes advocacy groups, support programs, advisory committees, and various diabetes camps. She has also lived with type 1 diabetes since 1983 and understands that ignoring your diabetes is a recipe for disaster, but having it take over your life can be even worse.