Exploring the Libre
Even though most CGMs want to keep levels down, the Freestyle Libre is a system that takes measuring and monitoring blood sugar levels to a whole new level.
It makes fingersticks a thing of the past. With the Libre, you don‘t need to prick your finger to measure glucose levels—it simply uses a sensor.
It also reads fast—only taking one hour to warm the Freestyle Libre system up. You can use the sensor for up to 14 days and spend less time in hypoglycemia.
What is the Freestyle Libre? The Freestyle Libre is a system that allows for continuous monitoring of glucose that consists of a sensor worn on the upper arm at the backside and a handheld reader to scan the sensor.
How does Freestyle Libre work? The sensor has a flexible and thin filament that is inserted just under the skin to measure and monitor blood glucose levels each minute.
How do you use it? Using a handheld reader, get the blood sugar levels with a one-second painless scan on the sensor.
Freestyle Libre 14-day Reader
With the handheld reader, you can scan the sensor as many times as you want and get continuous data points even through your clothing.
The features of the reader include the following:
Reporting capability: The reader can store glucose data of up to 90 days. You can also download the data from the Freestyle Libre system to the LibreView software, which allows you or our doctor to deeply analyze your glucose data.
Convenience: The Freestyle Libre is a very convenient system to have because it is lightweight, compact, and allows you to do a blood glucose testing with the builti-in Freestyle Precision Neo test.
User-friendliness: It allows for visibility in the dark because of the backlit color touchscreen.
What does a painless one-second scan show?
Sensor glucose readings: After the patient has scanned the sensor, the glucose readings appear on the screen.
The readings include a glucose trend that shows the direction in which your glucose levels are heading. A number indicating your current glucose reading and a graph shows your glucose history for the last 8 hours.
Daily patterns: A handheld reader also shows a graph that indicates the variability and pattern of your sensor glucose on a typical day.
The grey shading shows the range of the sensor readings while the thick black line shows your glucose readings’ midpoint. Note that a minimum of five days of data is needed for the reader to display the daily patterns.
Low glucose events: The reader provides information on the number of glucose events that are measured low by the sensor.
The total number of events recorded by the sensor is shown above the graph. The bar graph shows the events of low glucose levels in a span of four different 6-hour periods of the day.
The arrows on the screen show you the glucose data collected in the last 7, 14, 30 and 90 days. When the readings are below the level of 70 mg/dL for a period longer than 15 minutes, the low glucose events are recorded.
Time in target: This shows the percentage of time your sensor readings were you were within your target, and also below or above your targeted glucose range.
Visual alerts: If your glucose readings are around 70 mg/dL or expected to be below that figure, changing rapidly, or have no trend arrow or glucose number, a visual alert which is known as the Check Blood Glucose symbol is displayed on the monitor.
When this symbol appears, it is recommended you conduct a blood glucose test before deciding on any treatment options.
The Freestyle Libre 14-day Sensor
The following are the features of the Freestyle Libre sensor:
Painless application: The sensor contains a very thin filament that is painless and easy to apply. It just sits under the skin to measure and monitor the glucose levels in the interstitial fluid.
Comfortable to wear: With the approximate dimensions of two US quarter coins stacked together, it is very comfortable to wear and can easily be scanned through clothing.
Water-resistant: The Freestyle Sensor is water-resistant—up to 1 meter underwater. Since it stays in the body for 14 days, you can wear it while showering, swimming or exercising.
Accurate sensor readings: Since the readings are not affected when the patient takes acetaminophen and does not need any fingerstick calibrations, the finger readings are normally accurate.
Continuous monitoring: The Freestyle Libre sensor can store readings every 15 minutes and measure your glucose levels every minute.
How to apply the sensor
The following are the steps to follow when applying a Freestyle Libre sensor:
1.Choosing the site: Select an area at the back of your upper arm which has not been recently used avoiding areas with recent insulin injections, scarring or moles.
2.Preparing your skin: This is the most important step of sensor application since it ensures adhesion. The sensor adhesion guide is provided in the manual that comes with the Freestyle Libre pack which indicates the solutions suggested to help in common conditions of the skin surfaces.
3.Applying the sensor: The sensor applicator and the sensor pack come as a set and separately from the reader. The following is a simple guide to applying the sensor:
- Peel off the lid completely to open the sensor pack and unscrew the cap of the sensor applicator. Put the sensor cap aside.
- Line up the dark mark on the sensor cap with the dark mark of the sensor applicator then firmly press down on the sensor applicator on a hard surface until it comes to a standstill.
- Put the sensor applicator on the prepared area and press it down firmly until the sensor is in position.
- After application, ensure that the sensor is secured. Place the cap back on the applicator and dispose of the sensor applicator and pack as per your local regulations.
Hopefully, the above information on the Freestyle Libre system of measuring and monitoring blood glucose levels is helpful. However, if you have any doubt on how to apply the sensor or monitor the readings contact your health care provider for further assistance.