New guidelines suggest continuous glucose monitoring may be beneficial to type 1 diabetics

Continuous glucose monitoring technology has come a long way in recent years and thanks to this progress the Endocrine Society is now saying that it can be a useful tool for managing blood sugar levels in certain individuals with type 1 diabetes.

Earlier continuous glucose monitoring devices offered mixed results. Some experts said they were unreliable and occasionally inaccurate. This prevented them from being widely used by the general public.

However, this is no longer the case. Continuous glucose monitoring devices are now more reliable than they were in the past. Because of this, the new clinical practice guidelines from the Endocrine Society state that many people may benefit from using the technology.

The recommendations state that children with type 1 diabetes are encouraged to use continuous glucose monitors, as the devices may lead to better blood sugar management. Furthermore, adults with type 1 diabetes should consider using the technology if they are able to commit to wearing a device the majority of days.

Continuous glucose monitoring technology can offer many advantages over traditional blood sugar testing. For one thing, diabetics do not have to prick their fingers to get a reading. The device works by implanting a sensor below one layer of the skin. This sensor measures glucose in interstitial fluid that surrounds skin cells. Meters then provide diabetics constant, up-to-date readings of their blood sugar.

There are still some drawbacks with the devices. The new guidelines note in particular that they can be expensive and questions still remain about their accuracy. Furthermore, not everyone may be in a situation in life where they are able to wear an external device all day, every day.

"There are some caveats to consider before accepting continuous monitoring of glucose as a routine measure to improve glycemic control in diabetes," said David Klonoff, MD, author of the recommendations. "However, the new clinical practice guidelines show that continuous glucose monitoring can be a beneficial tool to help maintain target levels of glycemia and limit the risk of hypoglycemia."