Around 8.8% of the global adult population, i.e., about 415 million people across the globe, suffer from diabetes. Diabetes is a form of chronic illness that results in high blood sugar levels.
Around 1.5 million deaths are caused because of diabetes every year. Therefore, a diabetic person needs to check their blood sugar levels regularly to keep them balanced. Glucometer is a device used for measuring blood sugar levels.
Best Blood Sugar Monitors Without Finger Pricks – How To Choose The Right Glucometer?
A traditional glucometer requires a finger prick to take the blood sample on the glucometer chip. But this method is time-consuming and painful for many people. With the advancement in technology, glucometers are developed which do not require a finger prick to check the blood sugar level. These types of glucometers are called continuous glucose monitors or CGMs.
How to select the best Glucose meters without finger pricks:
While choosing a Blood Sugar monitor/ CGM, different parameters need to be taken care of, which differ from person to person.
The best option is to consult your physician regarding this matter so that they can guide you according to your health/condition requirements. Following are some of the Common and important points to consider while buying a CGM.
Usability is about the efficiency, overall performance, and effectiveness of a CGM. Check the below-written points for checking the usability of a CGM:
Accuracy is one of the most important factors while choosing a CGM. CGMs are often not accurate and may cause serious issues because of the wrong blood sugar level reading. Most CGMs claim to be accurate, which is not always the case. There may be some external factors that may affect the accuracy of the CGM. While buying a CGM, one should always check that the machine is FDA approved.
With technological advancement, you can connect to your CGMs wirelessly via a Bluetooth or wi-fi network. Such connections are convenient as you can get a bigger picture of your health stats. With the help of this feature, your reports are accessible in different forms like graphs or charts, which makes it easier to keep track of your blood sugar levels.
CGM machines come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some Machines, along with the blood sugar level reading, have plenty of other features too. One should always buy a comfortable machine and whose functions and features are familiar and easy to use. Because buying a CGM machine with high-end features and not being able to use them is a waste of money.
Speed is an important factor for deciding the efficiency of the CGM machine. The best machines deliver readings in 10 seconds and less. Choose a machine that will consume less time and does not mess up with your schedule.
The storage here we are talking about is the storage of data, i.e., your blood sugar readings. One should always prefer CGMs, which record hundreds or thousands of readings to give you a broad view of your blood sugar levels and fluctuations.
CGM sensors are usually placed on the upper arm or two inches below the belly button. But taking samples from the same site repeatedly may cause problems or incorrect readings. Since the blood circulation is different in every part of our body, it is always better to consult with your doctor or physician regarding the sampling site and the CGM as they know about your condition better.
CGM technology is costlier than the traditional finger-prick mechanism. Usually, insurance does not cover CGM machines, but now many companies are doing it if the patient meets certain requirements such as,
👉If the patient is getting regular or multiple doses of insulin injections or insulin pumps,
👉Frequently or regular blood sugar level monitoring,
👉Presence/ history of hypoglycemia unawareness,
👉Erratic blood sugar levels,
👉An endocrinologist should prescribe CGM.
In most cases, people with type-2 diabetes are provided insurance without any of these requirements. Sometimes the insurance appeal gets canceled, but one should try again because there are cases where appeals are accepted even after 4-5 tries. An external appeal helps with accepting the appeal.
Even though continuous glucose monitors are effective, efficient, and becoming increasingly popular among diabetic patients due to their effectiveness, it’s still a luxury for many diabetic patients. CGMs are more costly than the traditional finger-prick glucose meters due to the more advanced technology used in CGMs.
This is because the sensors must be changed after a particular time which could vary from one week to every day. A CGM May cost $100 to $500 per week. Therefore it is advised to use a CGM only after prescribed by a doctor or if you can afford the costs of a CGM.
Types of glucose Meters without finger pricks:
A real-time CGM consists of a disposable wire sensor, a transmitter, and a receiver. The sensor is implanted under the skin, and the transmitter is attached to the sensor through a wire. The receiver stores and displays the recorded blood sugar levels.
It also has programmable alerts or alarms if the blood sugar level suddenly increases or decreases. The sensors for this type of CGM are usually used for a maximum of 7 days only and must be changed after this. This type of CGM is used on patients with the following symptoms:
👉Patients treated with intensive insulin regimens (insulin pump and MDI),
👉 Patients with increased risk for hypoglycemia,
👉Impaired hypoglycemia awareness,
👉Frequent nocturnal hypoglycemia,
👉Frequent severe hypoglycemia,
👉Significant glycaemic variability,
👉Patients who experience hypoglycemia fear,
👉Patients who are physically active (especially athletes) and have busy lifestyles,
👉Patients who cannot achieve adequate glucose control with is CGM,
👉 Patients who desire tighter glucose control,
👉Younger T1D patients require continuous support by an adult (parents, school personnel, and coaches in sports via ‘sharing with specific alert settings’).
🩸 intermittently scanned CGM:
The sensors in the intermittently scanned CGM need to be changed every two weeks. It measures the interstitial glucose levels. It is required to scan the reports every 8 hours; if not done, the previous readings will be lost. It is used for patients with the following symptoms:
👉Patients with newly diagnosed T2D for episodic use as an educational tool,
👉T2D patients treated with non-insulin tropic therapies for episodic use as an educational tool,
👉T2D patients who are not on intensive insulin regimens, are under a good control and desire full-time or episodic iSCGM as an alternative to SMBG,
👉 Any T1D and T2D patients on insulin treatment who would like to monitor glucose without the support of alerts/alarms; and possibly transition to rtCGM in the future,
👉Patients who are motivated to scan their device several times per day, which is mandatory for improved glucose control (e.g., during pregnancy),
👉Patients with low risk of hypoglycemia but desire more data,
👉Patients who cannot afford rtCGM but desire improved glycaemic control or if a specific country specifies that isCGM is the first choice before rtCGM.
Best Glucose Monitors without finger pricks:
It got approved by the FDA in 2017 and was the first non-finger prick technology to record the blood sugar level. To use Freestyle libre, you have to wear a sensor on your upper arm. The sensor has to be changed every 2 weeks. The CGM reads the blood sugar level from the interstitial fluids underneath the skin.
To get the glucose level reading, you just have to wave the monitor over the sensor. The libre 1 version does not have this feature, but the libre 2 version comes with an alarm if the Blood sugar level is too low or too high.
The Eversense CGM received its FDA approval in 2019. It is an implant device usually implanted on the upper arm or under some distance below the belly button. A small sensor is implanted in the skin, followed by a transmitter on the top.
It measures the glucose level through the interstitial fluid. The reading is recorded every 5 minutes. The data is then automatically sent to the connected smartphone. One sensor lasts for about 90 days. The CGM is sunlight sensitive and should be implanted in a hospital by an experienced medical practitioner.
🩸Dexcom G6 CGM:
Dexcom G6 CGM got its approval from the FDA in 2018. It’s the first one of its kind to work with insulin pumps, dosing meters, and other diabetes devices. The sensor is usually worn in the abdominal area, precisely the belly.
The sensors are water-resistant and are required to be changed after 10 days. The readings are transferred every 5 minutes to the connected device, a smartphone, laptop, or smartwatch.
🩸Guardian Connect System:
The Guardian Connect System got its FDA approval in the year 2018. The device can be worn on the arm or the belly. The sensor is implanted under the skin, and the transmitter is installed on the top. It gives blood sugar level readings every 5 minutes.
It’s for use for people aged 14 or above. It also has a feature called the time in a range, which tells us how much the blood sugar level changed within a limited period.
Diabetes is a chronic illness and can lead to death if proper health measures and treatment are not taken on time. The production of CGMs is one step forward towards advancement in medical science and getting hassle-free and less painful blood sugar readings.
CGMs are efficient and effective, but they should be used only after consulting your physician or doctor who is well aware of your medical condition. CGMs make it easier to keep track of your blood sugar level as most of them come with alarms or alerts when there is a sudden drop or rise in your blood sugar levels.
They also make the process painless and hassle-free as it does not require finger pricking, and all the readings are displayed and stored on the monitor or the smart device connected with the CGM.