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The Facts About Continuous Glucose Monitoring

With the commercial availability of continuous glucose monitoring devices, we’ve entered a new era of diabetes care, says Howard Wolpert, M.D., Director of the Joslin Diabetes Center Insulin Pump Program.

While you go about your daily activities, continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) “reads” your glucose levels throughout the day and night.  It gives you a window into the patterns of blood glucose highs and lows after eating different foods, activity and insulin, and allows you to gain better control.



  • Can tell if blood glucose is rising or falling, indicating a possible need to treat
  • An alarm sounds if blood glucose goes too high or too low
  • Can improve diabetes control with a lower risk of lows



  • Doesn’t replace the finger stick: you still need to do a meter reading for accuracy
  • Information overload: requires training and skill in diabetes management
  • Costly: not yet covered by most insurances

Learning Curve


The sensor for CGM is an ultra-thin needle you insert under the skin, which transmits blood glucose measurements to a receiver, where they are displayed. You need to replace the sensor every three to seven days. You will also need to learn to align the monitor’s sensor with your meter and understand the “lag” time difference between their readings.

Joslin has started classes for adults considering CGM and for those who have purchased one and want to learn how to use it.  “We expect interest in using these devices will continue to grow,” Wolpert says. “Especially when insurance starts to cover more of their costs.”

For a schedule of upcoming programs and to make an appointment, please call (617) 264-2767.

Page last updated: November 07, 2019