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
Thank you for your review. My husband just spent a week on a CGM and now wants one. I do hope you continue to have good results with it. We thought the device was amazing. He was supposed to be in a blind test, but the diabetic specialist forgot to put the monitor into that mode. His diab. doctor wasn’t to happy that he adjusted his eating after seeing where his blood sugar was. His A1C is 5. and is too low for someone his age. We are working on that plus he has to wean off Prednisone. We couldn’t believe the effect that medicine had on spikes. So glad he is coming off of it. He has/had hypercalcemia which was the original reason for the Pred. So far his calcium numbers are doing okay. Again thank you so much. Peg
That’s so great that he liked the CGM! And best of luck weaning off Prednisone! Seems like the CGM will really help with that.
I have been thinking about getting a CGM, but I hate the idea of something being on me. What is your favorite place to put it so it’s out of the way?
That was my reservation too, but really it’s not that bad. My favorite spots to put it, so it’s out of the way, are stomach and arms. I’ll do my thighs too in the summertime.
Do you still use this? if so are you able to do an update on how the past year has been? Also do you use the iwatch? What is the watch app like?
I do still use Dexcom! I will definitely do an update. I don’t use the iwatch because I have an android phone. Although, I did seriously consider switching over to Apple just for the iwatch and dexcom communication however there are some reasons (aside from the financial investment) that I chose not to switch. I’ll do a post on this next week 🙂
I am considering A DEX G4. I believe the need to test often has been changed to less often. I am still not sold. But thanks for this review.
Happy to help! You technically only need to test 2x/day with the G4 & G5 (for calibration purposes). The reason I test more is because I’m aiming for super tight pre-pregnancy numbers 🙂
The more I have to call Dexcom, the more frustrated I become, once I get through to them, usually after a long wait, I’m typically disappointed to learn that they can’t help me. My daughter is 7 and thus her Dexcom sensors fall off quite often before the 7 days they are supposed to last. when we try to call to re-order they WILL NOT replenish the supply before the due date. you are supposed to call and report each sensor that came off early or was problematic, but the issue is that I can rarely get through by phone! Now I need to order transmitters, you get two at a time for the G5 because they last only for 3m. The 2nd transmitter is telling me it will soon expire, but Dexcom tells me I must wait 30 days to call for new supply! So my daughter will be without her Dexcom for several weeks because each time we order new supplies they must contact her doc and insurance for verification. “But let us know if it expires before the expiration date”…of course it’s going to, it’s telling me it’s going to and that’s what I’m trying to tell them!!! They tell me they cannot replace the one transmitter that has already expired, they can only replace two at a time?!? She is also on Omnipod and we NEVER have these issues with Omni. With Dexcom, I’ve also had orders cancelled when I thought they were on their way, nobody ever calls you to let you know what’s going on. I’m not sure if they just have really poor training, are short staffed but their customer service needs a huge revamping. The only reason I stay with the Dexcom is because my daughter is so young, we like it for when she is sleeping and away from home so we can track on cell phone. But I can say that since we’ve had the Dexcom, past 4y, we’ve been without it for at least half that time because of missing parts, problems with parts, etc. SO frustrating, I dread calling them everytime.
Oh no, that’s awful! I’ve never experienced problems with Dexcom. Sorry to hear it’s been so hard and frustrating. I agree about Omnipod, they are great!! I can’t wait for their artificial pancreas to come out 🙂
My daughter is using dexcom , however only last 5 to 7 days sometimes less because start given us false readings. I read that for some patients last 2 to 3 weeks , I would love to know how is that possible. Thank you in advance for any adivise. Praying every day and night for a cure.
My next post (tomorrow) is about how to extend the Dexcom past the 7 day mark! There are a few things that can cause false readings/inaccuracy. The most common for me are: compression (sleeping on it), roller coaster blood sugars, bad calibrations, or just a bad sensor. Certain medications can also throw it off. Check back tomorrow for more 🙂
Thank you for your review!! I’m a T1D as well & on the Medtronic insulin pump. I just got the Dexcom CGM in september…took me awhile to finally put it on as it was intimidating! But after wearing for a couple of times I thought I didn’t want it. I thought I could only wear it on my abdomen and then I got a huge bruise from one spot and a rough patch from the adhesive in the other area. I also test on my forearm and really don’t want to do finger sticks. I need to try it again…just kinda chicken about it.
I agree, it is SO intimidating! That’s why I put mine on my arms just so my husband has to insert it for me. So bad 🙂 But they are working on a self-inserting-system so it would be hands free and insert on its own. My least favorite spot is the abdomen…too painful. Have you tried the back of the arms or outer thigh area? Those are my favorite spots. Sorry about the rash, maybe you could try barrier wipes to lessen the irritation.
I love Dexcom! I have had the G5 for over a year now. There is a problem for when you are ordering after the 1st of the year. I have primary insurance as well as Medicare. It was taking forever to get my supplies because everything had to be approved again. I signed a “ok” for Dexcom to send my supplies as soon as insurance was approved. I was not aware that this “ok” gave them the right to take my full deductible of my primary insurance out of my checking account without telling me what the amount was or that they were going to do this and when. So surprise surprise Dexcom takes over $900 out of my checking account to cover my whole deductible even though Medicare will pick up the balance. After some “negotiations” and lots of phone calls they agree to refund 5/6 of the money and I will pay the rest over 5 months. That was 6 days ago and I have yet to see any refund. Meanwhile it’s the first of the month and we are overdrawn because of first if the month bills. I am beyond frustrated! Don’t know if it is worth it to work with this company.
Wow what a bad experience! I’m sorry that you have to deal with that 🙁 In my experience, Dexcom has been excellent to work with, so hopefully that’s just a fluke. I hope everything works out <3
I am looking into this system and am up in the air about the whole thing.
How long on average are your sensors lasting? They tell me 7 days is what they are approved for but can they be worn longer without any issues?
The sensors last 7 days, but can easily be reset once they “expire” and you can get another 7 days out of them. The longest I have worn mine is 21 days (so 2 rounds of “resets”). I pulled it off on day 21, not because the readings became inaccurate, but because the bandage was looking so dirty and raty.
First time Dexcom G5 user! I love it! I also have an Apple Watch and the alerts also come through on my watch…very convenient…especially at the gym…
So happy to hear that you’re loving it! It makes diabetes management so much easier!!
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That’s awesome! Glad I could help you out hahah!
Great review. Have G4 and G5 waiting for G4 to expire. T1D 38yrs 103lbs eat whatever I want. I actually use my sensors for 6 to 10wks until readings are way off. When it says to “replace sensor”, I stop sensor, then turn off sensor for a few minutes then restart receiver & start sensor. That way it thinks I put in a new one. I have 24 sensors right now. Even though some are expired, they work just fine. I also cover my sensor with a Smith & Nephew IV3000 4×4 3/4 #4008 clear bandage because I find when the sensor gets wet it peels off. Especially when swimming. I wear mine on my stomach, so pants & seat belt can easily catch.
Thank you! and wow, 6-10 weeks! That’s awesome!!
indeed it peels of if you go more than 15 minutes in water (shower, bath, swimming pool, etc)
then you have to use to sticky things to add more “stickiness” to the sensor
Very well written article. It will be helpful to anyone who usess it, including me. Keep doing what you are doing – for sure i will check out more posts.
Thank you Reyid!
I would love to have CGM for my boyfriend… For now he is using Freestyle Libre by Abbot but it’s not giving alerts.
Can you tell me what is the cost of Dexcom?
Without insurance I think it’s about $400/month, but most insurances will cover at least a portion.
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Dexcom has always been great. Until they just charge your card out of no where never even send you an invoice after and just pick what dollar amount to charge you regardless of what your insurance says to pay. Then when you call they just say too bad. I am completely flabbergasted I have never had worse service from a company. I def see how they make their money and it is def at the customers expense.
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Thanks for post I was searching for g5 review for my friend…it helped a lot 🙂
You’re welcome! I’m glad it was helpful!
I have four G5 sensors with an expiration date of May 11, 2019. Are they safe to use? (Assume they are changed after 7 days use). Thanks.
I’ve used expired sensors from 2016 and they’ve worked great!
Although Dexcom is a great GCM Dealing with Dexcom is a nightmare. If you are going to go this route I suggest that you get the supplies from a supplier such as CCS Medical. It took me six months to get set up with Dexcom due to the case manager. A year later it starts again with getting the reauthorization. You will find after a year that you become dependent on the CGM. Now I am waiting for authorization and have no sensors. With an A1C of 5.5 I fully expect to have a run or die before I get my supplies.
I’ve heard this a lot lately, especially since they’ve moved a majority (maybe all) of their call centers overseas. Such a shame because they had great customer service before.
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