WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Medicine and medical devices have come a long way over time — and that includes for patients living with diabetes.
What was once a prick to the finger multiple times a day is now digital and less painful.
“You can carry it with you in your purse or a bag, you can attach it to your clothing, you can wear it all the time, no matter what you are doing like: sleeping, exercising, working, showering, so it’s very convenient to use,” United Regional endocrinologist Radhika Jaiswal, M.D. said.
Dr. Jaiswal is talking about a Continuous Glucose Monitoring system, or CGM.
“The CGM system uses a tiny sensor, which is attached to a transmitter which goes on your skin, usually on your belly or on your arm, and it wirelessly transmits the blood glucose readings between the cells under your skin to a transmitter device,” Dr. Jaiswal said.
The United Regional endocrinologist said this means fewer finger pricks and more freedom. “Helps you to monitor your blood sugar levels every 5 to 15 minutes throughout the day, so seeing the blood glucose in real-time can help you make more informed decisions about how to maintain your blood sugars.”
The CGM can be used by patients with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes who are on multiple insulin injections a day.
“Especially if they are experiencing a lot of fluctuation in their blood glucose levels, going too high or too low, or if they are having frequent overnight low blood sugar, or if they’re having difficulty recognizing the low blood sugar levels,” Dr. Jaiswal said.
And hey — there’s an app for that!
This specific CGM device, called a Freestyle Libre, has an app to track your blood sugar. It even has a share feature to let loved ones and caregivers be in touch with your health, too.
“There is a trigger alarm which can be set in the recording device if the blood glucose goes above or below a preset value, which can help you to know what your sugars are doing, and you can know if your sugars are increasing, decreasing or stable with the help of the arrows, graphics and the numbers,” Dr. Jaiswal said.
You have to replace the sensor every week or two depending on the type of device, and the one caveat is you need to monitor your blood sugar with the finger stick every once in a while.
But Jaiswal says it’s a game-changer for many. “It’s especially really helpful for those people who have low blood sugar quite frequently, and sometimes they don’t experience the symptoms of low blood sugar to help them know that their sugar is going to drop, and they need to take care of that before that happens.”
A CGM can provide wearable protection — with less pain and more management.
Jaiswal moved to Wichita Falls from New York in July 2021. She is now accepting patients, click here to learn more about her and set up an appointment.