If You Aren’t Sharing your CGM Data, Consider these Benefits
There’s no question that using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) can be a game changer for managing your blood sugar. If you live with type 1 diabetes (T1D) or help manage T1D in a loved one, a CGM can give you, your family and your health care team a lot of useful tools for directing your diabetes management plan.
Having a detailed picture of your blood glucose can tell you exactly how your body responds to medication, foods and activities. Even things like altitude and dehydration can affect your blood sugar. Instant and detailed blood sugar readings can help you prevent or quickly treat high and low blood sugars and avoid finger pricks and calluses. (If you know, you know!)
However, there’s one advantage you may have overlooked—that’s the ability to share your CGM data. Of course, the ability to send your data to your medical team is very helpful, but there are other situations when data-sharing is also beneficial.
In the classroom
Having access to your child’s blood sugar data at school can be a relief. You will be alerted if they go high or low and may even be able to identify blood sugar patterns around certain foods or school day activities by looking at the CGM data reports.
A change of routine can really impact blood sugar, which can make things like field trips nerve-wracking. Following your child’s blood sugar readings when out of routine—or temporarily sharing your CGM data app with a chaperone—can bring peace of mind and instill confidence that your child isn’t limited by their diabetes.
Depending on your child’s age and level of independence, you may choose to share CGM data with members of the school staff. This could be a teacher, school nurse or another person on site who has been trained to help your child correct a high or low.
Whatever course you choose for managing diabetes during the school day, make sure you have it well documented in a Diabetes Medical Management Plan.
Learning to manage diabetes independently
Part of growing up with diabetes is learning to manage it independently—but it never hurts to have support along the way.
Having access to your teen or young adult’s CGM data can help them gain independence while still being in touch with you––through the CGM’s designated app! This way, you’ll still be in the loop while granting them space to learn to manage diabetes on their own. (A win-win situation!)
Thanks to all the amazing data that CGMs capture, you can also review summaries and reports in the app to see how your child’s self-lead diabetes management is affecting their blood sugar levels over time.
Rest easy while living alone
Living alone with diabetes can be uniquely challenging. Sharing your real-time blood sugar data with friends, nearby family members or trusted neighbors can be helpful. Think of this as a diabetes safety net—if you experience a high or low, you have people who will know to check in on you and support you when needed.
If you experience nighttime lows, sharing your blood glucose data can be particularly valuable. Having someone who will call you to check in after your CGM alerts you to a 3 a.m. low can bring peace of mind.
The benefit of a safety net isn’t limited to people living alone. There’s no harm in sharing your CGM data with a trusted roommate or someone else who can be there for you during nighttime lows—they may even act as your alarm if your CGM alert doesn’t wake you!
On the job
Depending on the type of work you do, it may make sense to share a CGM data app with a coworker. When we are busy, it can be easy to dismiss blood sugar trends—or even forget to check them.
Before you know it, your blood glucose is out of range! If your job is physically demanding, dangerous, involves caring for others or takes place outdoors, having another set of eyes on your CGM data can be an important precaution. While you certainly aren’t required to disclose your diabetes at work, it can be beneficial to loop in a colleague who understands hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia and how to help you in an emergency.
As you get older, or if you help manage the blood sugar of an older adult, you may notice changes to how you approach diabetes management. Sharing your CGM’s blood sugar readings can be a way to lean on the people around you for extra support!
Appetites often decrease as we age, and not eating enough or becoming dehydrated can wreak havoc on blood sugar levels. Memory or other cognitive changes can also lead to forgetting to take insulin or accidentally bolusing twice.
A single low blood sugar event can put older adults at risk of seeing their health seriously deteriorate in the weeks and months that follow. Sharing your CGM data can ensure you are alerted in case your blood sugar goes out of range.
Your diabetes data is yours, share as you need!
There is no doubt that using a CGM improves diabetes management. The technology is amazing! Not only can it give you and your health care team invaluable information about your diabetes —but the ability to share that data with whoever you chose can offer an extra layer of safety and support.
If you choose to share this data with others, think outside the box! You get to customize your diabetes support system to meet your unique needs. Remember, there’s strength in numbers!
Editor’s note: Educational content is made possible with support from Abbott, an active partner of Beyond Type 1 at the time of publication. Editorial control rests solely on Beyond Type 1.