Continuous glucose monitoring is preferred to traditional finger stick monitoring by teens and young adults with type 1 diabetes and results in lower A1C levels (a measure of glucose control over the previous 2–3 months), according to recent research.
Continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) measure the glucose levels in the interstitial fluid (the fluid between the cells) continuously throughout the day and night. The systems are comprised of a tiny sensor that sits just below the skin, a transmitter that attached to the skin, and a receiver that displays the results.
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To compare A1C levels in teens and young adults using CGM versus traditional blood glucose monitoring, researchers from Harvard Medical School worked with 153 people ages 14–24 with type 1 diabetes. The groups A1C levels ranged from 7.5% and 11% at the start of the study, with an average of 8.9%.
The participants were randomly assigned to use either a CGM or traditional blood glucose monitoring. The CGM arm of the study also included a social marketing component that described how the device could be integrated into daily life and the benefits it would provide.
At the end of the 6-month study, CGM users were both more satisfied than those using traditional finger stick monitoring and had also improved their A1C levels by an average of 0.4% compared to the finger stick group. Sixty-eight percent of the CGM users also reported wearing the device at least five days per week.
“CGM devices have shown improved performance so that we are…reducing the burden of diabetes self-care with the use of these advanced diabetes technologies and, in turn, demonstrating glycemic benefits for this important age group,” noted researcher Lori M. Laffel, MD, MPH.
Want to learn more about CGM? Watch “Continuous Glucose Monitoring” and read “CGM for Diabetes Management” and “Sensing the Big Picture With Continuous Glucose Monitoring.”
Senior Digital Editor for DiabetesSelfManagement.com, Fennell has 16 years’ experience specializing in diabetes and related health conditions. Based in New York City, she has a degree from Columbia University.