People with Type 2 diabetes might have better success managing their blood sugar by using a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) device instead of intermittent blood testing, suggests a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The researchers enrolled 158 adults from 35–79 (average age 60) who had Type 2 diabetes. Although the patients were giving themselves insulin injections about three times a day, their blood sugar remained poorly controlled. To test blood sugar, the researchers used the A1C test, which indicates sugar levels over the previous 2–3 months. At the onset of the study, the subjects had A1C readings between 7.5 percent and 9.9 percent (below 5.7 percent is considered ideal). The subjects were randomly assigned to one of two groups. The first group was assigned to use a CGM device; the second group continued self-monitoring on their own as they always had. The investigators monitored the participants for 24 weeks.
After the trial period, the researchers reported that the A1C levels in the CGM group had declined to 7.7 percent, while those in the control group were 8.0 percent. Although neither group saw A1C levels drop into the ideal range and the difference between the two groups was not large, the researchers nevertheless considered the difference noteworthy. According to Roy W. Beck, MD, lead author of the study, the ability of CGM to give diabetes patients continuous real-time readings can prevent problems. “The blood sugar if it gets too low can lead to seizure or loss of consciousness,” he said, “so having the ability to know ahead of time that the glucose levels are trending in that direction is extremely valuable so that the patient can eat or drink carbohydrates to raise the blood sugar.”
Want to learn more about CGM? Watch “Continuous Glucose Monitoring” and read “Sensing the Big Picture With Continuous Glucose Monitoring” and “Dexcom G6: The Future of CGM Is Here.”
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Joseph Gustaitis: Joseph Gustaitis is a freelance writer and editor based in the Chicago area. (Joseph Gustaitis is not a medical professional.)
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