Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM): What is it and how can it help improve your health?

You might have heard of people with diabetes wearing continuous glucose monitors (CGM) to better control their diabetes. The CGM devices usually consist of a sensor with a tiny flexible needle that sits right under the skin to measure glucose readings throughout the day and night. In addition, there is also a transmitter that is part of the CGM that gets paired to your Smartphone so you can track your blood sugar levels. 

Our blood sugar varies all day long and is not only affected by diet and exercise but sleep, certain medications, and stress (physical and emotional).  People without diabetes are also wearing CGM to better understand their metabolism.  The data you get from using a CGM device can help people see how their particular lifestyle habits play a role in their blood sugar levels. The goal is to minimize spikes (or steep, high peaks) in your blood sugar and keep most of your readings within your target blood sugar range. 

There are websites and apps people can use in conjunction with their particular CGM device that allow you to log your meals, exercise, and other important information. By having all this data in one place you can fine-tune your lifestyle habits to optimize your blood sugar readings. Certain apps remind you to log your weight, meals, and exercise. The apps also alert you when your blood sugars are rising quickly or trending down. In addition, once you log your meal or snack, the app may alert you that your meal may have a high or low impact on your blood sugar. If your blood sugar is rising quickly, the app prompts you to do certain things to bring the blood sugar levels down (such as a 20-minute brisk walk or plyometric exercises).

Using a CGM device allows you to see in real-time what specific foods or meals are making your blood sugar trend up, how your blood sugar readings respond to the various types of physical activity you engage in, sleep quality, and other factors. Knowing how your body responds to these factors, allows you to see exactly which one(s) are affecting your blood sugar readings. With this knowledge, you can now fine-tune your diet to minimize spikes in your blood sugar readings, modify your workout, improve your sleep habits, and/or better manage stress. 

Keeping your blood sugars mainly within your target range can help optimize your energy levels, better fuel physical activity, and manage your weight. CGM can give you an edge you would not get with any other device or strategy. If you feel you are stuck with your weight or you’re hitting a wall with your workouts, CGM may be a game changer for you.

At Princeton Longevity Center, we offer nutrition coaching from a registered dietitian for our patients who are using CGM to help them take their health to the next level.