Diabetes can be a life-threatening disease. Needing constant monitoring, it can sometimes feel like it completely takes control of one’s life. Fortunately, we live in a technological age where constant and noninvasive monitoring of blood sugar levels is becoming realistic and possible.
Continuous glucose monitoring or CGM has become an achievable and affordable way of monitoring glucose throughout the day. Some systems have their own dedicated watch, while others will piggyback off an existing smartwatch. The thing all these systems have in common is the ability to keep blood sugar issues under control.
The Dexcom G6 is currently one of the best CGM systems on the market. As the current market leader, it would make sense that the G6 kit really does offer an all-encompassing package. The package includes an auto applicator which is reusable, several disposable sensors and a transmitter which clips into the sensor to transmit information in real time.
The sensor itself is a little bulky but sticks well to stay in place for its 10-day lifespan. The transmitter will clip into a specialized housing on the sensor pad to read real time glucose levels and send them to an IOS or Android device of your choosing. The device selection also includes smartwatches, allowing for great real time tracking.
The one negative part about the Dexcom G6 is the price, which can be a difficult pill to swallow as you’ll need to win big when you play blackjack for money to afford one. The sensors themselves cost on average $140 a piece with a 10-day lifespan, while the transmitter is none rechargeable and will need to be replaced every 90 days at a cost of $300. Excluding the initial cost of the applicator, this translates to $520 per month on average to keep the system going.
The Freestyle Libre 2 is another of the big players in the CGM market. Freestyle Libre 2 includes replaceable sensors and a reusable sensor applicator. Unlike the Dexcom G6, the Freestyle Libre 2 includes a transmitter within the sensor, which avoids extra parts and cuts down on cost, this can be an advantage and disadvantage as what saved in cost is lost in convenience.
To take your glucose reading after eating a healthy meal or beforehand you need to hover a reader or phone near the sensor to transmit the required data. The sensor in unable to transmit data if your device is more than a few centimeters away, making it fall behind in emergency scenarios where somebody may not think to scan their device. The sensor itself is much smaller than the Dexcom offerings, making it more convenient for an everyday wear. If price is one of the motivating factors, the Freestyle Libra comes in much better $130 for a 14-day sensor. This makes the monthly average cost just over $260.
Both of these systems work extremely well, but the technology is still new to market, making them less than ideal when it comes to reliability. It’s recommended to take a manual glucose reading up to twice a day to ensure the sensors are still calibrated correctly.