CGM vs Blood Glucose Devices

CGM vs Blood Glucose Devices

If you have diabetes or another disease that requires close monitoring of blood glucose levels, more than likely, you will require a blood glucose monitor to measure, qualify, and accurately display the amount of glucose (sugar) within your blood.

The glucose level in your blood can be extremely fluid as a day progresses. For instance, exercise, food, medications, stress, and other external factors can impact your blood glucose, and in turn quality of life as glucose levels being too low or too high can drastically impact health. Using a blood glucose meter helps better manage your symptoms by tracking fluctuations in these levels, and can help you correct course if your levels are off-base.

There is a wide variety of blood glucose monitors and meters on the market – ranging from exceptionally basic, to more advanced and that can continually monitor your glucose. The two primary types that are in use are Blood Glucose Monitors and Continuous Glucose Monitors.

What are some key differences among utilizing a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) and a typical Blood Glucose Device when it comes to testing your blood sugar? There are some major ones that are exceptionally important to the quality of life of the user. Here, we identify some of the key differences and why CGM is a much more viable option for those who need to check their glucose frequency.

Blood Glucose Devices:

Blood Glucose Devices (also known as Blood Glucose Monitors or BGM) measure an individual’s glucose levels at a single moment in time, only when the device is actually being utilized. This can be restrictive as you’re only able to get updates when you use the machine and are unable to tell what is consistently going on with your glucose.

Most of these types of devices work in the same, straightforward way. The user first inserts a test strip into the device, and then you poke a clean fingertip with a needle to get a small drop of blood. You test this blood by touching the strip to the blood and waiting for reading to appear on the screen.

When utilized and stored in the proper manner, blood glucose meters are typically effective and accurate in how they measure glucose. They vary widely and in the features that they actually offer as well. Models range from low to high end, and can typically be found in your local pharmacy or supermarket.

However, using blood glucose devices can be cumbersome due to the need for finger pricking and manual readouts of the data. Often, users forget to test their blood sugar levels, which can cause negative health implications. This is especially true for those who need to check their levels multiple times a day.

Continuous Glucose Monitor:

An incredible and modern way to monitor your blood glucose is through the usage of a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) – one of the latest advances in the industry. This system eliminates the need to take fingerstick measurements like a typical blood glucose meter. This system is fantastic for those who are checking their glucose more than four times a day.

CGM is able to track your glucose levels through day and night, taking measurements at regular intervals. These readings translate into timely, dynamic data as well, generating rate of change and rates of impact of glucose changes on the body.  CGMs work by measuring your blood sugar every few minutes by the usage of a sensor inserted under the skin. These sensors are typically worn for a week or two prior to needing to be changed. There are even some monitors that require less frequent changes of their sensor.

These signals are transmitted to a receiver or smart device, where you’re able to see a comprehensive readout automatically. No need for manual testing – the device does it for you. It is then also able to adequately track trends in your glucose levels. This hands-off approach means less time focusing on your blood glucose levels and more time focusing on your day.

What are the Benefits of CGM Over Traditional Glucose Monitoring?


Unlike in traditional blood glucose monitoring systems, which solely provide a single glucose reading, a CGM system can provide real-time, dynamic information up to every five minutes – that’s 288 readings within a 24-hour period. This helps the user and their physician gain valuable insight about glucose levels and is helpful in users being proactive about managing their diabetes. Many users of CGM visit their doctor frequently to help manage their diabetes, but with the usage of CGM, they are able to better monitor their own blood glucose and help better manage it on their own.

Additionally, this system is able to track your glucose at night, which can alert you of highs and lows during your sleep, which could not be tracked by normal means. Because of this, the insights that the system is able to capture are immense. You will also be able to see proper thresholds and better track how varying levels of glucose impact you.

From the scientific aspect, there have been numerous studies shown that CGM systems can help reduce A1C levels, as well as reduce the risk for hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, whether the user is on insulin injections, pumps, or not. It’s been found to improve the quality of life for many different patients in various populations.

Another benefit that should not be overlooked when it comes to the differences between devices is the lack of finger pricking needed with the CGM. Using one of these devices means that users will not have to worry about constantly buying testing strips, or worrying about the pain of pricking their finger to obtain blood each time.

Glucose levels can change rapidly depending on conditions in the body and conditions in the environment. CGM ensures that you never have to worry about your glucose levels or about forgetting to monitor them.

Are you interested in learning more about the effectiveness of using a CGM and about the benefits of continuous monitoring and less finger pricks? Contact us today to learn more about this device and how it will significantly impact your life and your glucose monitoring. It’s a win-win!


If you are not insured, or have a high deductible health insurance plan, you can still purchase the Freestyle Libre Reader and Sensors at extremely competitive prices. Prices starting as low as $99 per month

*Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings when you suspect readings may be in accurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.

Reference 1: Data on file. Abbott Diabetes Care. 2, FreeStyle Libre 14 day User’s Manual

Indications and Important Safety Information

FreeStyle Libre and FreeStyle Libre 14 day Flash Glucose Monitoring systems are continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices indicated for replacing blood glucose testing and detecting trends and tracking patterns aiding in the detection of episodes of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, facilitating both acute and long-term therapy adjustments in persons (age 18 and older) with diabetes. The systems are intended for single patient use and require a prescription.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Remove the sensor before MRI, CT scan, X-ray, or diathermy treatment.

WARNINGS/LIMITATIONS: Do not ignore symptoms that may be due to low or high blood glucose, hypoglycemic unawareness, or dehydration. Check sensor glucose readings with a blood glucose meter when Check Blood Glucose symbol appears, when symptoms do not match system readings, or when readings are suspected to be inaccurate. The system does not have alarms unless the sensor is scanned, and the system contains small parts that may be dangerous if swallowed. The system is not approved for pregnant women, persons on dialysis, or critically-ill population. Sensor placement is not approved for sites other than the back of the arm and standard precautions for transmission of blood borne pathogens should be taken. The built-in blood glucose meter is not for use on dehydrated, hypotensive, in shock, hyperglycemic-hyperosmolar state, with or without ketosis, neonates, critically-ill patients, or for diagnosis or screening of diabetes. When using FreeStyle LibreLink app, access to a blood glucose monitoring system is required as the app does not provide one. Review all product information before use or contact Abbott Toll Free (855-632-8658) or visit for detailed indications for use and safety information.html. . FreeStyle, Libre, and related brand marks are trademarks of Abbott Diabetes Care Inc. in various jurisdictions. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2018 Abbott. ADC-09691 vLO 10/18

*The FreeStyle LibreLink app and the FreeStyle Libre 14 day reader have similar but not identical features. Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings, when you suspect readings may be inaccurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.

The FreeStyle Libre 2 app and the FreeStyle Libre 2 reader have similar but not identical features. Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol and when your glucose alarms and readings from the system do not match symptoms or expectations

‡‡‡Based on the sensor being replaced once every 14 days, and scanned at least once every 8 hours.

§§§Glucose readings are not available during 1-hour warm-up, when sensor is too hot or too cold, when you see an error or "LO" or "HI" message, or no current glucose reading