Tracking my blood sugar | blog 2 : initial results + continuous glucose monitors
It's been a few weeks now since I started my glucose monitoring journey. I am a numbers gal. I love checking my blood sugar because I am able to see what is actually going on in my body and by seeing that number I feel empowered to make decisions about food and exercise that I know will best suite me.
Ex: I am craving a dessert (love my sweet tooth), however because I have been checking my glucose I can see my levels are still elevated. I know, that by eating dessert I will be further elevating my blood glucose and this is not good for me in the long run. I can also choose to go for a brisk walk and from there re-check and possibly have a little something sweet.
(I just want to add that I am not diagnosed with a blood sugar/endocrine imbalance such as type 1 or type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, and for me to check my blood sugar and course correct relatively easily is a privilege that I don't take lightly).
I've been using a finger stick style glucometer as mentioned in my previous blog. My finding have actually been more elevated that I'd hoped. Fasting glucose averaging 105-117mg/dL. This is technically prediabetic. And this does coincide with some of the symptoms I have been feeling in the past couple years. Fluctuating energy levels, hungry, hangry and most of all foggy headed. It has been difficult for me to find words and to move from one topic to the next with ease. I experienced this most at work. While spending a day talking to patients, discussing eastern medicine, thinking about acupuncture points and herbs, for then someone to talk to me about a totally different topic I would stumble to make conversation.
Since finding my fasting glucose to be elevated I have incorporated starting my morning with a glass of warm lemon water (but like actually doing it this time, read my above statement about being a numbers gal and loving evidence) and a walk.
I also called my mom. Naturally. If you missed my explanation in blog #1, she worked in diabetes research for many years and knows what different readings mean and what to do about them.
She's actually somewhat reluctant to accept that my glucose is elevated, and wondered if what I was experiencing was low glucose (hypoglycemia). I assured her that the machine was consistently reading elevated numbers. She suspected hypoglycemia because I am generally pretty thin, however, she did mention that type 2 diabetes/insulin resistance could run in both sides of my family.
Here are a couple of pointers she gave me that I found helpful. Make sure the test strips are not expired, this can alter the readings. As well as make sure to have a well made glucometer.
After that conversation I thought it would be best for me to explore how to get a Continuous Glucose Monitor and what the cost would be. These wearable machines give a reading of glucose (from the interstitial fluid) at any given moment.
Here's what I've found:
Some CGM products have to be prescribed by your doctor, which can be troublesome. There are some companies that offer private pay CGMs, however, I am finding them to be memberships that involve coaching and apps which drives up the cost. I am personally just looking for a monitor that can connect to an app or to my iPhone without the coaching, recipes or additional health tests involved (I have access to many of these through my profession).
However, I'll just list the facts I've found through research and you can decide what works for you.
- Needs to be prescribed by a phycisian
- Priced generally between $0-$65 per month
- Direct to consumer
- FSA eligible for payment
- $350/month which includes a month-to-month commitment, two 14-day CGM sensors and 1-month of dietician guidance.
- There's a waitlist (or at least I was put on a waitlist)
- They do have an informative blog
- Annual membership of $199
- $199 per month for two CGMs to be used that month
- You will need a compatible heart rate monitor, apple watch or fitbit
- 6 months for $159/month
- Need a compatible heart rate monitor
- Will need a phone with Near Field Communication to scan the monitor. iPhone 6 or later has this.
- $488 for subscription with includes 1 telehealth appointment with a physician, 2 CGMs (1 months worth) and 90-day membership to the app.
- Not FSA eligable
- The package seems to have three at-home tests to start: Gut health/microbiome (aka poop test), blood sugar test, blood fat test
- $29/month plus the cost of the tests which is $294 (or you can pay for the tests over 6 months for $49 each month).
As I consider these different costs and offerings I am going to stick with my traditional fingerstick glucometer for the moment. My insurance is not great (at all) and I don't think my primary care physician will write a prescription for a CGM for me.
I am pretty determined to try and find the most user-friendly and accessible for of glucose monitoring.
The two programs I am going to explore more is the Freestyle Libre and Zoe, and may inquire deeper through email to each of these companies.
Do any of you have any personal experience with a certain CGM and find it helpful? Please drop me a line in the comments or via email. I'd love to hear from you!