The Value of Professional CGM
This content was sponsored by Abbott, the makers of FreeStyle Libre 2, — a Founding Partner of Beyond Type 2.
Professional Continuous Glucose Monitoring CGM, also known as P-CGM or masked/retrospective CGM, allows people living with diabetes to wear a CGM for a short amount of time (usually 1-2 weeks). The wearer is usually blind to the data until its downloaded and analyzed at the physician’s office. It’s different than regular CGM (also known as real-time CGM), where the patient has primary access to the data captured by the device.
Real-time CGM devices collect a wide range of data including:
- Current blood sugar, including the direction blood glucose is trending.
- Amount of time spent in range. You can read more on this metric here.
- Average blood sugar from the past 30, 60, and 90 days.
- Graphs detailing daily, weekly, or monthly blood sugar patterns.
Users wearing CGMs can also input the amount of insulin they’re using, the number of carbs per meal, notes on exercise and its intensity, as well as any other necessary information. This data can be exported to an excel file, as well.
How Does a Doctor Use P-CGM?
A P-CGM allows a doctor to see trends in your glucose readings, which they can then use to more accurately advise you on the best ways to manage your diabetes. People with diabetes who use CGM make changes to their diet, exercise, sleep, and other stress factors to improve blood sugar based on the device’s data. P-CGM allows doctors to fine-tune your diabetes routine according to existing, unchanged habits.
Let’s look at the FreeStyle Libre Pro for example:
- You put the sensor on the back of your upper arm for 14 days.
- You continue your usual blood sugar testing routine based on your doctor’s recommendation.
- Keep a daily log of your food, exercise, insulin, and blood glucose numbers.
- Go about your daily routine.
- Your healthcare provider downloads your CGM data and uses it to improve your diabetes treatment plan.
Why Should a Person with Type 2 Try a Professional CGM?
There are several benefits to wearing a P-CGM such as:
Identify and correct blind spots in your diabetes routine
Are you trying to figure out why your blood sugar is higher in the morning and can’t seem to be reduced? Ever wonder if you’re experiencing hypoglycemia at night? Maybe you’re not sure how your blood sugar trends after meals and exercise because your fingersticks don’t provide that information. Type 2 diabetes requires some lifestyle changes. Based on your current habits, your healthcare team can use P-CGM to pinpoint necessary details for you and provide suggestions on how to correct what needs correcting.
Real-time adjustments to your routine based on your current lifestyle
Let’s be real, change is hard, especially if your resources are limited. Maybe you’re someone who’s newly diagnosed and your doctor’s advice to “eat well and exercise” is easier said than done. This doesn’t mean Type 2 diabetes doesn’t require some lifestyle adjustments. At least with P-CGM, your doctor can meet you where you are and make recommendations about your diabetes care based on current habits. From there, they can also point you to the right resources to help you reach your diabetes management goals. This relieves the pressure of needing to make sudden, quick changes and allows you to build new habits on your own terms.
There’s no long-term commitment, but the experience can have a big impact on your routine
You don’t need to wear a P-CGM for long. Typical wear is 3 to 7 days but as mentioned earlier, the FreeStyle Libre Pro can be worn for 14 days, just like its real-time CGM counterpart. Even though you wouldn’t be wearing it for long, the experience can be impactful on your health. There have been several case studies of people with Type 2 who went on P-CGM for a week and saw lasting results such as a lower A1c, better overall blood sugar control, better weight control, and even remission. P-CGM helped them visualize the impact diet, exercise, medication, and other factors had on their glucose levels.
It’s a great way to explore diabetes tech
If you’ve been curious about trying CGM, then a P-CGM is a great test run to see how you’d like it. We mentioned earlier that the commitment is minimal, but after trying P-CGM, you may be inspired to wear a CGM on a regular basis and use the data to fine-tune your diabetes care on your own.
You save money on health costs in the long run
Did you know that in the United States, diabetes costs rose from $245 billion in 2012 to $327 billion in 2017? People with diabetes spend more than twice as much on healthcare than people without diabetes. Out of $16,752 per year that people with diabetes spend on healthcare costs, $9,601 is attributed to diabetes care. One study showed the economic benefits of P-CGM. Patients who used the option saved more than $3300 per year on diabetes-related costs. Imagine being able to improve your health and save money in the process.
Is a Professional CGM Right For You?
That depends! If you need extra help analyzing your glucose data or want to work more closely with a doctor to help you understand what affects your blood sugar, then P-CGM may be for you. If you want a professional to make recommendations to your diabetes regimen based on that information, then P-CGM may be for you. If you believe these efforts will have a long-term impact on not just your A1c, but overall health and ability to manage diabetes, then P-CGM may be for you.
To start on P-CGM, contact your healthcare provider about your options. With regard to cost, these devices are owned or leased by healthcare providers and provided to patients. The coverage of professional CGMs depends on the health insurance plan. As you consider implementing this treatment into your care, contact your health insurance company to inquire about out-of-pocket costs.