FMH Offers New Method of Assessing Glucose Control
October 31, 2008Franklin Memorial Hospital Outpatients Services is offering a new tool for those with diabetes who are having difficulty managing their disease-a continuous glucose monitoring system-an FDA-approved device from Medtronic that records blood sugar levels throughout the day and night.
Medtronic works by inserting a sensor just under the skin of the abdomen through a quick and usually painless office procedure. The device can then provide up to 288 glucose measurements every 24 hours. The system is used to measure an average blood sugar for up to three days, while the person with diabetes continues daily activities at home.
Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches, and other food into energy needed for daily life. Left untreated or managed poorly, diabetes can lead to amputations, kidney failure, heart failure, large and small vessel disease, blindness and strokes.
“The main advantage of continuous glucose monitoring is that it can help identify fluctuations and trends that would otherwise go unnoticed with standard HbA1c tests and intermittent finger stick measurements,” said Nancy Thomas, RN, CDE, certified diabetes educator.
“For example, the device can capture dangerously low overnight blood sugar levels which often go undetected, reveal high blood sugar levels between meals, show early morning spikes in blood sugar, and evaluate how diet and exercise affect blood sugars,” said Thomas. “This provides valuable data to help the patient see how meals, medication, and exercise are affecting their glucose levels.”
After three days, the sensor is removed at the Outpatient department and the information is downloaded into a computer. The patient and their doctor or diabetes educator will then review blood sugar levels in relation to the other data collected and make any necessary adjustments in their diabetes management plan.
A doctor can prescribe the procedure as often as he or she believes it necessary to properly evaluate a patient’s blood sugar patterns. Patients may also self-refer. Continuous monitoring is reimbursed by Medicare and covered by many private insurance plans (check with your individual carrier).
For more information, contact the FMH Outpatient Department at 779-2539 or 1-800-398-6031, ext. 2539.
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