Flash glucose monitoring systems
How important is glucose testing?
Monitoring your glucose level and taking your diabetes medications as prescribed by your healthcare provider along with proper diet and exercise is the best way you can manage your diabetes.
Monitoring your glucose level allows appropriate recognition of low glucose level and provides immediate feedback about the treatment plans. Frequent high glucose levels may cause damage to your nerves, blood vessels and even to your organs. Meanwhile, if you have a low glucose level, you may experience fatigue, sweating and even faint. It can be very dangerous if you are doing activities that require concentration, such as driving when your glucose level is very low. Therefore, regular monitoring of glucose should be part of your regimen.
How frequent should you test your glucose level (when using test strips and meter)?
Your frequency of testing varies depending on multiple factors such as;
- Type of diabetes (type 1, type 2, gestational, etc.).
- Time since diagnosed (newly diagnosed diabetic may need to be tested more often and at different times during the day to help you have a better understanding of your diabetes).
- Age. Some age population may require more lenient glucose target.
- Types of medication and whether you had a recent change in your medication regimen. Use of insulin and certain types of diabetic medication may require you to test up to 4 times per day or more.
- Life changes such as going through periods of stress, being sick or drastic changes in diet, weight and exercise regimen.
Flash Glucose Monitoring Systems
Given the complexity of how frequent one may need to test glucose level using test strips and meter, some patients may opt for a flash glucose monitoring system, a method of glucose testing that measures, displays, and continuously stores glucose readings that are recorded automatically.
What is a flash glucose meter?
A flash glucose monitor is a newer type of device that uses a sensor to measure glucose level and almost doesn’t require finger pricks**. Instead, a sensor is applied on the back of the upper arm and a reader is swiped over the sensor to read your glucose level.
What are the differences between a flash glucose monitoring system and test strips and meters?
|Flash Glucose Monitoring System||Test Strips and Meters|
*Reference : Haak, Thomas., et al. Flash glucose-sensing technology as a replacement for blood glucose monitoring for the management of insulin-treated type 2 diabetes: a multicenter, open-label randomized controlled trial. Diabetes Therapy 8.1 (2017): 55-73
Note : Data collected with the FreeStyle Libre system. The FreeStyle Libre 2 system has the same features as the FreeStyle Libre system but with optional real-time glucose alarms. Therefore, study data are applicable to both products.
** FreeStyle Libre: A finger prick test using a blood glucose meter is required during times of rapidly changing glucose levels when interstitial fluid glucose levels may not accurately reflect blood glucose levels or if hypoglycaemia or impending hypoglycaemia is reported by the system or when symptoms do not match the system readings.
FreeStyle Libre 2: Finger pricks are required if readings do not match symptoms or expectations.
Is there a Flash Glucose Monitoring System Covered in your province?
|Provinces/Territories||Type 1 Diabetes||Type 2 Diabetes||Note|
|Yukon||✅||❌||FreeStyle Libre system is reimbursed for residents over 18 years of age living with type 1 diabetes who meet the benefit criteria.|
|Ontario||✅||✅||FreeStyle Libre system is reimbursed by the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) program for qualifying residents who manage their diabetes with insulin. The coverage will include both the FreeStyle Libre system sensors and reader.|
FreeStyle Libre sensors reimbursed by RAMQ residents 18 years or older who meet these 2 criteria
FreeStyle Libre 2 Sensor is reimbursed by Manitoba Health and Seniors Care for residents 25 years of age or under who meet these 2 criteria
FreeStyle Libre 2 Sensor is reimbursed by Saskatchewan Formulary for residents under 18 years of age who meet one of these 2 criteria
Finding the right device for your glucose monitoring needs is an important decision and switching systems might seem complex.
Talk to your local health care provider to see if a flash system glucose monitoring system is right for you.
Introduction to FreeStyle Libre system
Difference between interstitial and blood sugar
How to set up the sensor system and how to use the device
How to interpret your readings on the sensor
How to read the sensor report and how does this help with the diabetes management
The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide complete information on the subject matter or to replace the advice of a health professional. This information does not constitute medical consultation, diagnosis or opinion and should not be interpreted as such. Please consult your health care provider if you have any questions about your health, medications or treatment.