I did it. I took the plunge! About 6 months ago I got a CGM. For those of you who are unfamiliar, A CGM (continuous glucose monitor) is a little device that continuously reads my glucose levels. It takes readings every 5 minutes and I can view those readings on the receiver device to know where my sugar levels are at any given time. Without further ado here is my Dexcom G5 review!
Dexcom G5 Review
The CGM brand I chose is called Dexcom and I put a new one on every 2-3 weeks. It goes on like a Band-aid and peels off like one too, so I can do it right at home; no doctors office visit needed. This post won’t go into the details of how to specifically put one on (that will be another post, coming soon!), but here is a brief overview. You stick the sensor on like a Band-aid, push the plunger that inserts the small cannula under the skin, remove plunger, snap in the transmitter (aka the brains), and voila! And when it’s time to replace it (after about 2 weeks) you just peel it off and toss it in the trash.
So far my experience has been great and I honestly don’t know how I went this long without getting a CGM. For some reason I was so against having a CGM (and an insulin pump) because I thought I didn’t need the help, but after a lot of consideration and talking with my incredible Endo team I took the plunge.
I wanted to wait a few months before writing this Dexcom G5 review so I could really get to know the ins and outs, pros and cons of having the Dexcom CGM. So here it is…
Pros of the Dexcom G5 CGM
- Knowing where my blood sugar is at anytime, anywhere. This is huge, especially when I am running around and don’t have time to do a full finger prick. I just pull my receiver out of my pocket and read the number on the screen. That’s it. It’s so easy! This is super helpful when I’m in a meeting at work, grocery shopping, walking the dog, or cooking dinner.
- Knowing where my blood sugar is heading. This added insight helps me better determine where my blood sugar is heading based on my previous readings. This helps me catch highs and lows before they even happen. For example, say I checked my sugar (with my meter) before bed and saw that I was 90mg/dL, I probably wouldn’t do anything because 90mg/dL is a great number before bed. But because I only have that one number to go off of I wouldn’t have the insight to know that just 30 minutes ago I was 160mg/dL and was dropping fast. Now that same scenario with the Dexcom… I check my Dex receiver and see that yes, I am 90, but I am trending down (and pretty fast)…this would change my decision of not doing anything to now having a glass of OJ before bed to catch that low before it happens.
- Alerts. This can be a blessing and a curse, but I’m going to put it in the pros sections because I think the benefit FAR outweighs the annoyance. When Dexcom notices a fast trend, like your dropping or rising at a high rate it will alert you. You can choose your alert sound or even have it set to vibrate. This is a great feature because you catch a high or low blood sugar before it even happens. Dex will also sound an alert when you’ve hit your high and low threshold.
- Sync to Your Phone. The Dexcom G5 has the ability to talk to your iPhone so instead of checking your receiver you can just look at your iPhone or apple watch. This is especially nice for parents who have a diabetic child because even if they are at work or away from their child, they can set up the Dexcom to send info to their phone so they can monitor it from work or wherever they are.
Cons of the Dexcom G5 CGM
I just want to start off by saying that these cons really aren’t cons. They are just minor annoyances, but nothing that would make me want to consider getting a different CGM or getting rid of a CGM all together.
- Intimidation of needle and packaging. I know what you’re thinking, “A diabetic is afraid of needles?” Strange, I know. The packaging is big and bulky which is intimidating but honestly, it’s not as scary as it looks. Most of the time I don’t even feel it go in and when I do it’s only a small pinch.
- The feeling of something on you. The first few days after a new insertion I am very aware that it is on me. But it’s not bothersome or uncomfortable…I just know it’s there and make my best efforts to be careful when undressing, using my loofah in the shower, towel drying, putting on lotion, etc.. This is a con of CGMs in general, not necessarily the Dexcom G5.
- I don’t have an iPhone, so I cannot use the G5 to it’s full capacity. If you have an iPhone or Apple watch you can have your Dexcom talk straight to your phone or watch. I have heard rumors that they will be integrating this with droid phones next year, but who knows.
Now for some Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still have to do finger pricks?
Yes, I still have to do finger pricks. Why? Because a CGM reads tissue fluid and not blood fluid which is still pretty accurate, but not as accurate as blood. I always do a finger prick before I take any kind of action (as in eating food or injecting insulin) because sometimes, on a rare occasion myDexcom will be off.
Does it hurt?
Nope, not at all. Even when it gets hit or knocked it doesn’t hurt. Peeling it off feels just like peeling off a bandaid.
Can it get wet?
Absolutely! You name it…shower, swimming, watersports…this puppy can go anywhere you go.
I hope my Dexcom G5 review helps some of you who are considering getting a CGM. I will say that I haven’t tried any other CGM other than the Dexcom G5 so I can’t personally compare it to other CGMs on the market. So if you’re considering getting a CGM just do research and find out which CGM works best for you. Please share this Dexcom g5 review with anyone you know that is considering getting a CGM.
If you have any questions about the dexcom or CGMs in general let me know in the comments below!
Dexcom G5 review