Yesterday evening I started on the Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) system! I am so psyched that this device was approved for me. Ever since I knew of the existence of the CGMs I said to myself: “I NEED one of those. I MUST have one!”. As a research analyst and huge data dork, I love having more data available to me to know exactly what is going on in my body at all times.
With the regular glucose meter (finger pricking), I only have a data point at a specific time. This one data point doesn’t tell me whether I’m going up, down, sideways, if I am stable, rising or falling rapidly, etc. With the CGM, I will be able to see these trends and see if there are any changes I need to make in my diabetes management. Of course, the CGM isn’t perfect, I still have to calibrate it and do the finger pricking any time I need to take insulin as the measurement from the Dexcom may be wrong. Still, having this device sample my blood glucose every 5 minutes and give me snapshot of what’s going on will be tremendous insight. Plus, the fact that it will alert me if I’m going high or low is pretty sweet as well.
During the next week, I am going to study my trends to see what my body does throughout the day and get an idea of how my metabolism generally works. I will not make changes to my meals or daily routines as I want to get an idea of what happens on a typical day. I started this step by turning off all alerts on the Dexcom. That way I won’t be tempted to intervene if I see my BG is rising high. If I feel low, I’ll just check with my meter. This week I will operate as if I didn’t have a Dexcom and only had my good old blood glucose meter. Below are the questions I am looking forward to answering with the Dexcom data. I have a pretty good idea of how my body works and can answer most of these questions given that I have always been obsessive about checking, but having the extra Dexcom data will help me determine whether I know the entire story of what goes on in my body during the times I am not checking and figure out some of my weird trends:
- How does my glucose metabolism work at different times of day? Do I have big spikes at a certain of times of day? What happens while I’m sleeping? Do I go low more often than I think?
- How does my body respond to different types of food?
- How does exercise affect me? Do resistance training and cardio have the same effect on my blood glucose levels? Are there certain types of exercise that make my blood glucose rise instead of fall? Do I go low while exercising and not notice? Are my blood glucose spikes smaller after exercising, and if so, how long does this effect last?
- Are my basal and bolus insulin dosages correct? Do I end up with abnormally high spikes at certain times of day despite eating a relatively constant amount of carbs at each meal? Is my insulin:carb ratio different depending on the time of the day and therefore I am overdosing or underdosing at times? How long does it take for the insulin to start working? Is the insulin peak covering the blood glucose peak or are they not perfectly matched?
- On times when I am not feeling well, is it because I am spiking up, coming down from a high, or is there no correlation at all?
- How does stress affect my blood glucose?
Eventually, once I can confidently answer these questions, I do plan to do experiments when I go out to eat. I’ll see how restaurant food affects me and will carry a notebook with me to log all the info on what meal I ate, how much insulin I took, my blood glucose measurement before and after, and if I exercised that day or not. That way, if I want to have the same meal again at the restaurant on another occasion, I’ll know if I need to make any adjustments to my insulin dosages (or time I take the insulin) to end up at a better range and not end up chasing highs with corrections. When I find a delicious dish at a restaurant, I usually tend to eat the same meal whenever I go back, so having this log of info in a notebook will be extremely useful to me.
Looking forward to watching my trends during the next week. I haven’t been on the Dexcom for 24 hours yet, so it’s too early to post a review. However, my first impressions of it have been good so far. Yesterday, when I started it up, the measurements were a bit off from my actual blood glucose measurements. However, it has gotten much better today after doing the calibration. I assume it’ll take a couple of days and calibrating for the measurements to get more accurate. I will post a full review (and suggestions to Dexcom for improvement) once I have been on it for a while an have explored all the features. Super psyched so far!