The Role of CGM in Diabetes Management 

CGM. What is it? Who is for? How can it help?

written by ADCES staff, supported by Abbott

First off, What is CGM? 

Continuous Glucose Monitor or CGM systems measure glucose levels continuously, displaying a glucose level every 1-5 minutes along with trend arrows to indicate the rate and direction of glucose change. CGM system components include:  

Sensor: Sense glucose in interstitial fluid through a thin, flexible, sensor inserted under the skin and adhered to the skin  with adhesive.  

Transmitter: Transmit sensor glucose information to a display device, which can include a wireless handheld device, smartphone application or a compatible insulin pump. 

Benefits of CGM compared to Blood Glucose Monitoring (BGM) 


How can CGM Help Diabetes Management? 

Glucose trend information provides valuable context that helps the person with diabetes make proactive treatment decisions to mitigate hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.

CGM reports synthesize large amounts of glucose data (up to 1440 glucose values per day) into reports and graphs, providing insights into glucose patterns.

Who is a Good Candidate for CGM? Any person with diabetes who requires: 

  • Insulin for treatment of their diabetes
  • Can tolerate the CGM adhesive and is willing to wear an on-body device
  • Desires more comprehensive information about their glucose values and trends
  • Is at risk for severe hypoglycemia or has hypoglycemia unawareness

CGM Across the Lifespan


How Can I Ensure CGM Success? 

Problem: Skin irritation from the CGM adhesive  

Solutions: Use the following tips to prevent skin reaction and promote skin health.

  • Insert the sensor in a site approved by manufacturer and in an area with enough fat to "pinch" up. Clean the insertion site and allow to thoroughly dry.
  • Avoid inserting sensors in areas with broken skin, such as cuts or scabs, or areas where skin creases with bending, like the waistline.
  • Rotate sensor insertion sites to a different location with each change to give skin time to heal.
  • The user should remove the device and not continue using the device if skin irritation continues to occur.
  • Use a liquid barrier product to reduce skin exposure to CGM adhesive if skin irritation occurs. 

Problem: Alarm and alert fatigue

Solutions: Use personalized CGM alert settings.  

  • Users may not need to program all CGM alerts.
  • If alert frequency is burdensome to the user, consider setting only the hypoglycemia threshold alert and disabling all other alerts.
  • Ensure alerts are actionable and align with the individual’s goals for using CGM.  

Problem: Information overload-being overwhelmed by the data  

Solutions: Use these tips to systematically review the data.  

  • Focus on one actionable pattern at a time.
  • Deal with hypoglycemia first.
  • Set reasonable expectations (example: glucose levels are supposed to rise after meals). 
  • Focus on big picture, not on a particular day. 


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