Continuous glucose monitoring may either be retrospective for diagnostic purposes or it may be used in real-time.

Diagnostic continuous glucose monitoring systems are blinded to the individual who is wearing it. It is used by the healthcare professional to:

  • Detect asymptomatic or nocturnal hypoglycaemia, and
  • Aid in titration of medications, insulin doses or nutritional adjustments.

Real-time continuous glucose monitoring also contains alarms which can alert the user if the glucose level is rising or going below a pre-set threshold. This will allow the user to make changes to prevent or correct a high or low glucose level.

Most real-time continuous glucose monitoring requires once to twice daily blood glucose calibrations (involving fingerprick glucose tests) and each sensor lasts for up to 6 days.

"Real-time continuous glucose monitoring has been shown to improve overall glucose control in terms of improvements in HbA1c and reduction of the frequency of hypoglycaemia, particularly in those with type 1 diabetes," says Dr Daphne Su-Lyn Gardner, Consultant from the Department of Endocrinology, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group.

However, real-time continuous glucose monitoring needs to be used regularly for this improvement to be effected.

In addition, real-time continuous glucose monitoring may be combined with insulin pump therapy to allow for automated insulin suspension in response to, or prior to, a pre-set low glucose level. It may also be used in the future to control the high glucose levels by automatically controlling delivery of basal insulin.

See previous page to read about how continuous glucose monitoring systems work.

See next page to learn about flash glucose monitoring, another form of glucose monitoring.

Ref: O17