Sweet, sweet blood sugar...monitor
September 23, 2008 11:26 AM   Subscribe

Diabetes-filter: Which continuous glucose monitoring system is best?

I'm in the market for a one of these thingies and while I've looked at those gluco-watches, I'm pretty sure the Guardian Real-time System is the one for me (since I don't really want to wear a huge grey block on my wrist). Unfortunately, I can't seem to find any useful reviews of this device, and no one I know has ever used one. Does anyone have any experience with these devices (or know of a superior device)?

Relevant info:
-I live in Canada (which may affect availability), but might be able to access some US only products
-I've been a Type 1 diabetic since I was 12 (I'm 25 now), and have consistently had good to excellent control to date
-I am slightly OCD with regards to testing my blood (around 10 times per day), and will likely maintain this habit (albeit to a lesser degree) if I get some sort of monitor
posted by johnsmith415 to Health & Fitness (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I used to do research (trials) with this device. It functioned well in our tests (this was several years ago). Some of the participants in our study decided that they liked them enough to try and get ahold of them later. A few of our MDs wore one for the weekend to see what it was like, and they didn't seem to mind either. Fairly accurate, but the usage instructions are pretty strict.

If you're testing 10xday how are you planning to use the CGS? As a hypoglycemia detector? As an overall glucose-control meter? This is one of those things that you should ask your MD about, then ask to make sure that she actually has experience with the device.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 12:40 PM on September 23, 2008

I see that since then the Freestyle Navigator has been approved by the FDA. The physical experience of wearing it was slightly more pleasant in my opnion, but THAT DEVICE HAS BEEN MODIFIED SINCE I TOUCHED IT.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 12:43 PM on September 23, 2008

Best answer: Late to the game, but I'd gladly follow up via email/MeMail if you'd like.
I've been wearing the MiniLink/Paradigm combo, which is very similar to the Medtronic Guardian, for a year, and I've tried the Dexcom in clinical trials.

I find comments like robot's exceedingly unhelpful--a CGM is an entirely different type of tool from a fingerstick glucometer, and it renders a different sort of information. While checking frequently (I often stick upwards of 20x daily) can give you a momentary single-point reading, this pales in comparison to an automatic log of your glucose readings over the past 3 or 24 hours at the push of a button, plus detailed trend information through the computer. It's awesome to be able to outsource to a device so many small and annoying tasks, and I highly recommend the use of a CGM for any amount of time (and, though I pay out of pocket for all costs now, I won't likely give mine up)

All praise aside, these are not perfect devices. There is a bit of delay (~10-20minutes, depending on many factors) between glucose readings of blood and the interstitial fluids, and this discrepancy can be exacerbated with quickly rising or falling levels. The sensors are sometimes finicky and take some practice to reliably calibrate (though I get ~15 days of use out of my "3-day" sensors, which helps defray the costs). Like many forms of technology, when it works, it can be great, but when something doesn't, it can be very frustrating.

Now, as for which one is best, there is no clear answer. If you already wear a pump, the Paradigm combo unit is great... but I found my previous Animas pump way more user friendly for pump-only functions. The Dexcom and the Navigator are kind of big and clunky to carry, but that might not be a problem if you usually had a bag or big-ish pockets.

Before committing to a system, you may want to give the representatives of each company a call to request a trial session--some have a 30-day trial (or rather, refund within 30 days if you are unsatisfied), and other shorter trials can be arranged with a regional representative/educator (either through your endocrinologist or independently). Anyway, good luck with your search...
posted by zachxman at 6:37 AM on September 26, 2008

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