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CGM Systems: Is Continuous Glucose Monitoring for You?

A continuous glucose monitoring system can help a person with diabetes (PWD) and the health care provider identify the causes of varying glucose levels that fingersticks alone are unable to accomplish. A fingerstick alone is unable to capture all of the factors that can interfere  with blood glucose levels. The monitoring system serves as a tool to help reach a solution for healthier ranges of glucose levels.

What is a continuous glucose monitor?

A continuous monitor is a small device that can be worn to constantly capture glucose levels without having to perform a fingerstick. CGM systems can read glucose levels every one to five minutes.

Benefits of a continuous monitor

Wearing a monitor can help decrease hypoglycemia episodes. It can alert the PWD of rising or decreasing glucose levels and show the effects of food, activity, stress, illness, and medications, as well as help the provider in making medication adjustments and help solve an unmatched A1c with non-corresponding glucose levels.

Different types of monitors

There are two major differences in monitors, one is the professional that is owned by a licensed healthcare provider and the other is a personal monitor that is owned by the patient.

Professional and personal monitors

There are three professional continuous glucose monitors:

DexCom G4

FreeStyle Libre Pro

Medtronic IPro2.

These are owned by a healthcare provider for a patient to wear for monitoring glucose patterns for a 3-14-day time frame. While the patient is wearing these, they may or may not be aware of the results depending on the monitor used; this is considered blinded and unblinded. To receive the most benefit the patient is asked to keep food and blood sugar records and to continue with their normal routine. In some of the CGM systems an alarm can be set. To interpret the data with the patient an appointment is made for a return visit. It is possible to have a virtual visit, depending on the device and insurance coverage.

A personal continuous glucose monitor is chosen by the patient from among four brands:

DexCom G6 can be integrated with Tandem T:slim X2 insulin pump.

FreeStyle Libre Flash 14-Day

Medtronic Guardian Connect and the Guardian 3 that can be integrated with the insulin pump

Eversense implantable CGM.

The monitors can be worn for 7 to 14-days except for the Eversense which can be worn for up to a 3-month timeframe. Personal CGM’s can be used long term. The personal monitors may or may not have an alarm depending on the brand. Insulin dosing is approved for some CGM systems that are read in real-time. Also, some have data sharing capability with a mobile app for a friend or family member.

How do CGM systems work?

CGM systems have three main components for most brands:

  • Sensor
  • Transmitter
  • Receiver

Once attached, the sensor is almost unnoticed by the user. The data from the sensor is read from the receiver which in some cases can be a smart phone that is using the brand’s app. Once the sensor is in place and calibrated, it can begin to monitor glucose levels. When viewing, the user can see if the glucose is stable or if the level is trending up or down slowly or quickly; therefore, the user has time to respond to prevent a hypo or hyperglycemic event. They can also learn what may have lead to possible fluctuations to help make diabetes self-management decisions.

Where is a CGM worn?

Depending on the brand, the CGM sensor can be worn on the abdomen or the back of the arm. Some brands have an auto-injector for easy insertion.

Insurance coverage

Checking with your insurance company is recommended for professional and personal monitors. Commercial insurance companies and Medicare cover for the service by the professional and for the personal device depending on the individual plan. Type 1 and 2 are covered depending on guidelines for number of finger sticks and multiple daily injections. In some cases, if a personal CGM isn’t covered, the service for professional monitor usage, may be.

Eating For Diabetes Made Simple

Eating for Diabetes Made Simple

Living with diabetes can be a pain sometimes but eating for diabetes can be made simple by following a few steps. The quality and quantity of the foods being eaten are important and food intake that is colorful, and fiber filled, is high quality and can help with the management of blood sugars and overall health.   Focusing on eating these foods is better than dwelling on what not to eat. Including beans and healthy fats along with whole grains, fruits and veggies, in controlled amounts, allows for an optimal intake of powerful antioxidants which helps to keep a strong immune system. Here are a few tips to help:

Include legumes
Include beans, peas or lentils. These are high in fiber and provide protein, magnesium and potassium to name a few. Beans may also help improve gut health.

Add a healthy fat
For a healthier heart, add avocado slices, nuts, or olives.

Decrease saturated fats
If meat or poultry is covering half of the plate, consider making that a quarter of the plate and increase the veggies to help fill your tummy.

Include whole grains
Bulgur or farro are both whole grains which help when eating for diabetes.  Both are wheat products, and if you need gluten free, amaranth, quinoa, sorghum or brown rice can help you add whole grains to your food intake.

Know your portions
If you don’t know the amount that a portion of a food should be, consider a smaller plate for the meal.  Also, look at the size of the utensil you are eating with because these are larger than they used to be, which means each fork or spoonful will hold more food with each bite you take, resulting in a faster intake and possibly a larger intake.  Taking longer to eat a meal can help with digestion and smaller bites can help with weight control.

Make sure to add color
Add a fruit or veggie so that you have color on your plate. These foods can help provide a stronger immune system.

To be successful in making changes with eating for diabetes, work on one of these at a time, such as including beans in a meal 3-4 times a week, until a new habit is formed.  You will soon see how eating for diabetes can be simple.

Eat an Avocado for National Heart Month

You know avocados taste good, but did you know there are many ways to eat them other than guacamole?  This nutritious, always available fruit, does not contain sugar and provides healthy fat, almost 20 vitamins and minerals including potassium, folate and fiber, which all help to keep a strong immune system.  This is National Heart Month and, as always, a good time to eat a tasty, smooth and creamy avocado. 

Avocado University invited me to learn about Avocados from Mexico recently.  This was an all day event that I was not paid for. A registered dietitian is on staff to provide valued and trusted evidence based nutriton information. Because of this, I am excited to share the benefits of eating an avocado.

Ways to eat an avocado:

Spread a serving of ripe avocado on toasted whole grain bread and, if you like, add your choice of topping such as sunflower seeds. Scrumptious! A serving is 1/3 of a medium or 2.5 Tablespoons of an avocado.

Added to a side dish, such as with a grain or veggie.   There was a nice spread for lunch, but the dish that I remember the most was the farro with brussels sprouts and diced avocado.  Dreamy. That was a definite go back for seconds.

Eat a serving of yummy avocado in place of butter, mayo or margarine. A simple shift to help keep a healthy heart.

How about take your favorite guacamole recipe and add it to a veggie burger? 

Consider adding avocado to the filling for a deviled egg.  For more ideas and flavorful recipes go to

Heart disease is a number one killer of men and women and being kind to yourself nutritiously is an excellent step to take to fight back.  Avocados offer an abundance of flavor along with heart protecting benefits.  Treat yourself to good health, eat an avocado during National Heart Month and throughout the year.

Feasting on Holiday Goodies without Weight Gain!

Knowing how to handle the holiday goodies will help you bring in your new year feeling ahead, and not feeling you have further to go.  These goodies will be appearing in many places such as the office, school parties, church gatherings, family gatherings, and checkout counters to name a few.  

Feasting on holiday goodies can go on all season and get out of control, if you let it. Thanksgiving and Christmas may each only be for one day each year, but it is the time between these two holidays when it becomes easy to get off track with all the seasonal goodies around. This is a whole month of foods to navigate.  Doing things to enhance our health can really be put on the back burner.

As you bite into a holiday goodie, notice the size.  No matter the size, make it more than one bite.  If putting a food on your plate, consider if it could be cut into smaller sizes. This would be such as a brownie. An inch by one inch can be plenty as you indulge in all the holiday goodies this season.

Savor it. It’s not a race to finish.  Having a second or third serving will not make the first one taste any better than it already does, so slow down. A lot.  While indulging in holiday goodies, remember that you are in control of the foods you put into your mouth. This can help you get through the moment. 

Without guilt, you can enjoy holiday goodies.   A small bite will satisfy you and you can enjoy other goodies as well and not feel any guilt afterwards.

Holiday goodies can be enticing, delightful and relished.  Come January, instead of working to lose any additional weight gained and feeling guilty, savor the holiday goodies and you can continue on your journey of enhancing your health.

Succeed with Diabetes During the Holidays

Here are a few tips to succeed with diabetes during the holidays. Yes, it is possible! The diagnosis of diabetes can leave you feeling like enjoyments in life, such as the holiday table, have been taken away, but knowing a few tips can help. So how does someone go about handling this situation?

1. Remember that YOU are in charge! By making decisions and knowing your portion sizes, you can control what and how much you eat. The issue of portions can be handled well and you can relax and enjoy food during the holidays.

2. Notice how many bites you take while eating “a bite sized serving” of a food. Whether dressing, turkey or a brownie, two to three bites may be in that one size you put into your mouth in one bite. Try smaller bites and you will be surprised how much longer it takes to eat.

3. Contribute to the spread of foods by providing your own dish. More than likely you will find that you are not alone during the holidays when it comes to trying to manage blood sugar.

4. Ask yourself if you must have a serving of every dish on the table. If yes, do you have to eat it all at once? There is ample time so that you can go back for more, later in the day.

5. High fiber, immune system protecting, non-starchy veggies can help you feel satisfied. In Texas, radishes, bell pepper, mushrooms, and tomatoes are available, to name of few.

6. As you eat during the holidays, remember to savor your foods. That means slowing down and tasting and feeling the crunch or the smoothness of food as it rests on your palate and relish in the flavor.

The holiday table is a time of enjoyment and you can do that, without guilt, and succeed with diabetes.


Ways You Can Spice Up a Dish to Improve Flavor

Blog Ways to Spice Up a Dish

Flavor can be added to foods using herbs and spices, but many times we forget this.  Do you find yourself using the same seasonings all the time? Adding different seasonings to foods can be easy and tasty! Using more herbs and spices allows for a way to enhance the flavor of food while using less salt and can be very helpful for someone trying to decrease their sodium intake.
These are just a few herbs and spices to consider for flavoring your food.
Continue reading Ways You Can Spice Up a Dish to Improve Flavor

The Challenge of Decreasing Sodium- My Personal Struggle

Blog The Challenge of Decreasing Sodium

Decreasing sodium is a major overhaul. I still remember the countless faces that I made when trying to eat lower sodium foods and that was nearly 35 years ago. Never realizing how hard this would be, I thought just get foods marked lower sodium. Wrong! They were awful! When I began my venture with eating less sodium, I was putting salt on fruit and eating canned veggies and soups, along with prepared popcorn and sausage, biscuits and lunch meats. Taking a diet like that and thinking it would be easy was a huge mistake. It was hard making those adjustments. Suddenly my food didn’t have any flavor. I would make air popped popcorn and try to sneak in seasoned salt to give it something to make it taste good. The popcorn didn’t taste bad without added seasoning, it just didn’t taste.  At all.  Gradually I got to where I am today. It took some determination and making mistakes.    Continue reading The Challenge of Decreasing Sodium- My Personal Struggle

How to Know if You are Eating Too Much Salt

Blog How to Know If You Are Eating Too Much Salt

Too much salt can leave a person with several complaints that are not always recognized as being from excessive salt intake.  You may notice:
A bloated abdomen
Swollen feet and hands; shoes that normally fit very well are too tight
You may not be able to remove your rings or make a tight fist with your hands
You’re in a brain fog unable to think clearly
Pushing your thumb onto your arm or leg can leave an indentation that doesn’t go away quickly when you remove your thumb.
When exercising, your breathing changes. Deep breaths are not easy and nose breathing doesn’t feel as though it has provided sufficient oxygen.
You feel sluggish causing your pace to slow.
If you experience any of these, take a moment to think about the foods you have been eating. You may notice that you didn’t add any salt to your food, so you wonder how you could have eaten too much. Unfortunately, salt is already in many foods and you just don’t realize it. Because of this, overeating sodium can be very easy to do. If you don’t have any heart related issues you may not feel a need to make a change with the salt you are eating, but if you notice any of these signs or symptoms, you may benefit from noticing where your salt comes from.
An easy place to start is to simply look at a food label of the foods you are eating. Using the recommendation of 2300mg a day, you can check the product for serving size and sodium content. Most prepared foods will have high amounts. Lunch meats, bread with seasonings added and soups are some of the main contributors. This is a starting place. Once you discover your culprit, then you can try alternatives. Be kind to yourself and start with a small change to ease into the flavor change so that your taste buds can adjust to the flavor changes. 

Ten Tips for Weight Loss Success in 2018!

Blog Ten Tips for Weight Loss Success in 2018

You made your resolution to lose weight once and for all in 2018 and that can change quickly as a hectic schedule seems to take over your life and logical thinking. Sometimes the immediate thought, is that you just can’t do this, well that is not the case at all. Many times, the issue is that you just set yourself up to do way too much. Success with weight loss, can begin with small changes, not dieting. Diets don’t work. Think how many times you have tried the dieting route in the past and yet, here you are starting over. You may have lost it, but then regained the weight that was lost, plus a few more pounds. The beauty of small changes is that they are subtle and help you succeed in making changes so that the weight stays off.
These are tips that can help you reduce calories and be successful. See which ones can help you out:
Continue reading Ten Tips for Weight Loss Success in 2018!

Coping with Stress this Holiday Season!

Blog Coping With Stress this Holiday Season

This can be a very fun time of year and it can also be filled with stress causing our immune systems to weaken which can cause us to become sick. I used to think that this is because it was cold and flu season. But I have learned that there is more to us getting sick, than that. During this time of year, we have many more things that can cause stress. Continue reading Coping with Stress this Holiday Season!