Diabetes and Continuous Glucose Monitoring
A continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS) is an FDA-approved device that records blood sugar levels throughout the day and night. There are a number of technologies that are being tested but the only approved device -- Medtronic's MiniMed device -- can provide up to 288 glucose measurements every 24 hours. The system is used to measure an average blood sugar for up to 3 days, while the person with diabetes continues daily activities at home.
How Does the Device Work for Diabetes?
First, a tiny glucose-sensing device called a "sensor" is inserted just under the skin of your abdomen. The insertion is quick, and is usually not painful. It's very similar to insertion of an insulin pump catheter. Tape is used to hold it in place.
The sensor measures the level of glucose in the tissue every 10 seconds and sends the information via a wire to a pager-sized device called a "monitor" that you attach to a belt or the waistline of your pants. The system automatically records an average glucose value every 5 minutes for up to 72 hours.
Results of at least four finger stick blood sugar readings taken with a standard glucose meter and taken at different times each day are entered into the monitor for calibration. Any insulin taken, exercise engaged in, and meals or snacks consumed are both entered into a paper-based "diary" and recorded into the monitor (by pushing a button to mark the time of the meals, medication, exercise, and other special event you wish to record).