The Adventurous World of Continuous Glucose Monitoring

by Robert Keith Wallace, PhD

Introduction:

Have you ever wondered what’s happening inside your body? As a physiologist, exploring the intricate workings of the human body has always fascinated me. Thanks to advancements in medical technology, we can now peek inside and gain valuable insights into our own health. One such amazing development is continuous glucose monitoring (CGM). In this blog post, we will delve into the significance of monitoring glucose levels in real-time, its importance for individuals with prediabetes, and the experience I’ve had with a cutting-edge device called the Dexcom G7. Join me on this exciting journey towards understanding and preventing the development of type 2 diabetes.

 

Understanding Glucose Regulation:

Our body has remarkable systems in place to maintain stability, and one such system regulates glucose levels. After a meal, glucose naturally spikes, prompting the release of insulin to facilitate its absorption into the cells. However, in conditions like diabetes, this regulation system malfunctions, leading to persistently high glucose levels. In type 1 diabetes, insulin-producing cells in the pancreas are damaged, while type 2 diabetes often involves insufficient insulin production and sensitivity or insulin resistance. With insulin resistance, glucose can’t enter the cells as easily, so it builds up in the blood.

 

The Importance of Monitoring Glucose:

Normally, during annual check-ups, doctors perform an A1c test to assess glucose level averages over the past three months. Higher A1C readings indicate diabetes, while lower readings are considered normal. In addition to real-time glucose level monitoring, CGM helps identify trends and patterns, allowing individuals to make more informed decisions about their diet, exercise, and medication adjustments. It can also provide alerts for high or low glucose levels, promoting prompt action and preventing serious complications. Apart from helping people manage diabetes, CGM can be beneficial for individuals with prediabetes, those aiming for better metabolic control, sports enthusiasts optimizing their performance, and pregnant women with gestational diabetes.

 

The Experience:

As someone recently diagnosed as prediabetic, I decided to invest in the Dexcom G7 continuous glucose monitor. Dexcom’s G7 and Abbott’s Free Libre seem to be the most popular brands but there are other CGM brands available in the market, such as Medtronic, Senseonics, and Eversense. The Dexcom cost about $130 and provided a 10-day window into my glucose levels. Although not covered by insurance for non-diabetics, this device offers a unique perspective on the biochemical processes within my body. Other options, such as finger-prick glucose testing, were available, but I opted for a more immersive experience.

 

Discoveries and Observations:

Since using the Dexcom G7, I’ve been captivated by the real-time readings and their correlation with my lifestyle choices. Simple everyday activities like consuming a drink with frozen raspberries and yogurt led to a sharp glucose spike, reaching 212 within an hour. Predictably, treats like cola and apple pie a la mode had similar effects. However, I also learned that physical activity, such as taking a walk, helps to lower glucose levels. Additionally, I’m exploring complementary health options like the herbal preparation called Glucostat (an Ayurvedic MAPI product), which aids in glucose control.

 

Creating a Personal Prevention Plan:

With every data point collected, I keep a meticulous record of my consumption and activities to develop a proactive prevention plan. My ultimate goal is to avoid the world of type 2 diabetes and minimize the need for medication. Over the next seven days, I’m dedicated to analyzing my data and uncovering patterns that will help guide me towards a healthier future.

 

Conclusion:

The wonder of continuous glucose monitoring has granted me an incredible opportunity to delve into the intricacies of my own body. By monitoring glucose levels in real-time, I have gained profound insights into the effects of food, physical activity, and various lifestyle choices. Armed with this knowledge, I am focused on creating a preventive strategy to stave off the development of type 2 diabetes. Continuous glucose monitoring is not only a scientific adventure but also a valuable tool in safeguarding our health. Embrace the opportunity to look inside your body and embark on your own journey of self-discovery.

 

 

Selected References

  1. Nguyen M, Han J, Spanakis EK, Kovatchev BP, Klonoff DC. A Review of Continuous Glucose Monitoring-Based Composite Metrics for Glycemic Control. Diabetes Technol Ther. 2020 Aug;22(8):613-622. doi: 10.1089/dia.2019.0434. Epub 2020 Mar 4. PMID: 32069094; PMCID: PMC7642748.
  2. Merino J, Linenberg I, Bermingham KM, Ganesh S, Bakker E, Delahanty LM, Chan AT, Capdevila Pujol J, Wolf J, Al Khatib H, Franks PW, Spector TD, Ordovas JM, Berry SE, Valdes AM. Validity of continuous glucose monitoring for categorizing glycemic responses to diet: implications for use in personalized nutrition. Am J Clin Nutr. 2022 Jun 7;115(6):1569-1576. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqac026. PMID: 35134821; PMCID: PMC9170468.