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Community Q&A: Diabetic Patients’ Questions and Answers

Are there any risks with using continuous glucose meters?

Yes, there are some risks associated with using continuous glucose meters (CGMs). While CGMs can be valuable tools for monitoring blood glucose levels in individuals with diabetes, it’s important to be aware of potential risks and limitations. Here are a few risks to consider:

  1. Accuracy: CGMs measure glucose levels by detecting glucose in the interstitial fluid rather than directly in the bloodstream. This time lag can result in a discrepancy between CGM readings and actual blood glucose levels. Although CGM accuracy has improved over the years, discrepancies can still occur, particularly during rapid glucose changes, such as after meals or during exercise.
  2. Calibration: CGMs usually require regular calibration with fingerstick blood glucose measurements to ensure accurate readings. Failure to calibrate properly or calibrating with inaccurate blood glucose values can lead to incorrect CGM readings.
  3. False alarms and alerts: CGMs can generate alarms or alerts based on preset thresholds for high or low blood glucose levels. However, these alarms may not always be accurate, resulting in unnecessary anxiety or actions.
  4. Skin irritation: Some individuals may experience skin irritation or allergic reactions at the site where the CGM sensor is inserted. Proper care and rotation of sensor sites can help mitigate this risk.
  5. Technical issues: CGMs rely on electronic components and wireless communication, making them susceptible to technical malfunctions, software glitches, or interference from other devices. These issues can impact the accuracy and reliability of CGM readings.

It’s crucial for individuals using CGMs to be educated about their limitations, regularly calibrate their devices, and consult healthcare professionals for guidance on interpretation and decision-making based on CGM data. Continuous communication with healthcare providers can help mitigate risks and optimize the benefits of CGM use.

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