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Do You Need a Continuous Glucose Monitor?

Using a continuous glucose monitor, you can learn how various foods affect your blood sugar and devise a diet for optimal blood sugar response.
Do You Need a Continuous Glucose Monitor?
Closeup of a hand of a young woman showing a reader after scanning the sensor of the glucose monitoring system beside the sensor placed on her arm – focus on the reader

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 84 million American adults have prediabetes. That means one-third of us have blood sugar that is somewhat higher than it should be–above 100 mg/dL and below 125 mg/dL. Even though the name prediabetes implies that this condition inevitably evolves into frank diabetes, that is fortunately not the case. With attention and effort, people with prediabetes can prevent diabetes. Some may use technology designed for people with diabetes: a continuous glucose monitor.

Preventing Diabetes:

Q. My mother had diabetes and I want to avoid that. Consequently, I am very motivated to keeping my blood sugar under control.

My doctor suggested a continuous glucose monitor so I can track how my diet affects my blood sugar. I’ve discovered that if I eat white rice, my blood glucose soars. Oddly, ice cream barely seems to affect it.

I really like being able to track this so easily without finger sticks. It really has taught me how to eat sensibly.

Who Needs a Continuous Glucose Monitor?

A. A continuous glucose monitor (CGM) is a wearable device that detects blood sugar levels every few minutes. The patch is applied to the skin on the arm and can be worn for up to two weeks. Having the device communicate its readings to a monitor or even your smart phone can make these data far more accessible. Having that kind of guidance can make it easier to figure out what you should eat and what you should avoid.

This approach is very similar to the one utilized by Dr. Richard Bernstein as he investigated the type of diet that caused the least disruption of his blood sugar. He did not have the benefit of a continuous glucose monitor. With this new technology, a dedicated individual like yourself should be able to figure out how different meals affect your blood sugar and plan your diet accordingly.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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