The Future of Glucose Monitoring

Tech companies are always looking for new ways to improve how we monitor our health. There’s a new gadget that was just approved by the Food and Drug Administration that can help diabetes better monitor their blood glucose levels. The device, the Freestyle Libre Flash Monitoring System, uses a sensor to detect blood glucose levels without the need for a diabetic person to prick their finger several times a day to measure their glucose levels. For the 30 million Americans who currently have diabetes, this can dramatically change how people test their blood sugar and their routines.  

The Freestyle Libre Flash Monitoring System works by attaching a small sensor wire under the skin to determine glucose levels. Another wand-like device is then waved over the sensor to measure blood glucose levels. This means no more routine fingersticks or fingerstick calibrations. The scan with the wand takes one second to measure your glucose levels. This product is truly revolutionary. If you’re a diabetic, this can be a game changer in how you manage your health. Under most insurance plans, customers will pay no more than $75 a month to get a Freestyle Libre prescription through their pharmacy. The sensor is small, does not interfere with medication that contains acetaminophen, and it’s painless to wear and use. It’s also water resistant, so users can swim, shower, and exercise while wearing the sensor.  In trials, the Freestyle Libre has shown to lower the amount of time a user is in hypoglycemia and improving overall average glucose levels. In fact, in a study of the Freestyle Libre, users spent 38 percent less of their time in hypoglycemia compared to users who used traditional fingerstick monitoring for glucose monitoring. This revolutionary tracking can better help a user and their primary care provider track a person’s diet, lifestyle, and activity levels to determine when and how often they enter hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia, allowing for a doctor to aid in better glucose management and ultimately in providing the best supports for a patient living with diabetes.

The device is approved for adults 18 years of age and older. After a 12-hour start-up period, a person can wear the device for ten days. The Freestyle Libre provides Continuous Glucose Monitoring, something not possible with fingersticks. The touch screen reader holds up to 90 days of data, allowing people to track their glucose levels over time. A user can track trends and other patterns they otherwise may not be able to gather or accumulate with fingersticks. The tracker can measure glucose levels day and night. In fact, it takes measurements every minute. It records your data every fifteen minutes for up to ten days. After ten days, the sensor is replaced. The Freestyle Libre also provides an eight-hour historical trend of glucose levels, and a trend arrow so a user can see where their blood glucose levels are going, whether increasing or decreasing. The monitor also includes a touch screen. 

The Freestyle Libre is an important step in modernizing how we continue to monitor our health. Though other companies such as Google and Apple have attempted to create glucose monitors that don’t involve drawing blood, Freestyle Libre is the first to be approved for use by the public. Expect more products to develop in the near future with even longer battery life, and possibly even smaller sensors.  

Currently more than 400,000 people are actively using the Freestyle Libre system. If you want to sign up to learn more about the Freestyle Libre, you can sign up for information on their website. If this sounds like the right tool for you, talk with your primary care provider to see about using the Freestyle Libre. Let us know how it works for you! 

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Micah Peterson

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