For the nearly 21 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes, regular and painful finger pricks to monitor blood glucose levels are a fact of life. Dexcom has developed a glucose monitor that can continuously keep an eye on glucose levels without finger pricks. The Dexcom G5 mobile continuous glucose monitoring system involves a small, discrete device that is worn on the body, typically the abdomen, that has a tiny hair-sized sensor that sits just underneath the skin.
The Dexcom G5 transmits its readings using Bluetooth wireless technology to a mobile device, such as a smart phone. The system lets patients check on their continuously monitored sugar levels at any time and will warn users when glucose levels are too high, as well as send alerts if glucose levels are dangerously low, even when the user sleeps at night. It can even be worn by kids as young as two years of age.
Medgadget had the opportunity to ask Kevin Sayer, CEO and President of Dexcom, some questions about the technology.
Conn Hastings, Medgadget: How has the sensor impacted the lives of users? How would you compare the usual traditional procedure for patients to control their glucose levels to Dexcom’s sensing technology?
Kevin Sayer, Dexcom: When you have diabetes, managing your blood sugars is a 24/7 job and is full of so many inconveniences. One of the most painful and inconvenient elements of diabetes management is fingerstick blood testing. Not to mention that you have to pull out a blood test kit, possibly in front of others, in meetings, at meals, throughout your day.
The Dexcom G5 Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) system is designed to address the needs of our customers so they can have an easier and more discreet way to manage their glucose levels. The Dexcom G5 is the only FDA-designated therapeutic CGM accurate enough to allow users to make treatment decisions without fingersticks.
Medgadget: Does continuous monitoring result in users being able to anticipate spikes and dips in glucose levels more easily?
Kevin Sayer: At Dexcom our mission is to empower people to take control of their diabetes. Dexcom users get a reading every five minutes and can see their numbers on a smart phone (or Apple Watch) or share their data with a loved one or medical professional for added support.
As data evidence of Dexcom’s efficacy, a recently released clinical study by the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that Dexcom CGM users experienced an average 1% reduction of their A1C (average blood glucose levels) after 24 weeks of regular use and experienced significant reductions in the time spent in hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) and hypoglycemia (low blood glucose).
Medgadget: How does the sensor work to accurately and continuously measure glucose levels without direct access to the blood?
Kevin Sayer: A tiny sensor, about the size of a human hair, located just underneath the skin, measures glucose levels and sends data wirelessly through the transmitter to either a compatible smart device or your receiver via Bluetooth wireless technology.
The sensor glucose readings come from measuring the glucose found in fluids between your cells, called interstitial fluid. With the Dexcom CGM, the measurements taken from interstitial fluid are similar enough to blood tests that the FDA has deemed it safe and effective for treating your diabetes without confirming the readings with a fingerstick blood test.
Medgadget: Does the system require calibration using blood samples? If so, how often is this necessary?
Kevin Sayer: Finger stick calibrations provide a comparison, or measurement, between your BG (blood glucose) meter’s fingerstick measurement and the Dexcom sensor’s glucose readings, allowing the two systems to align.
There are three primary “must do” calibration situations, each with their own prompts in the Dexcom G5 Mobile CGM System:
- Two initial calibrations once your warm up session is complete
These calibrations occur only when a user applies a new sensor. The sensors last approximately 1 week.
- Two update calibrations are done twice daily, once every 12 hours
- When the Dexcom G5 Mobile CGM System prompts you to calibrate
The beauty of only having to calibrate twice a day is that a person can calibrate privately at home before they leave the house and when they get home at the end of the day.
Medgadget: What mobile devices are compatible with the system?
Kevin Sayer: Currently, the Dexcom G5 Mobile app is compatible with most iPhone devices, the iPod Touch, the iPad, the Apple Watch and most iOS systems.
Medgadget: Is the data concerning glucose levels logged? Can users interact with the data to investigate trends in glucose levels, or figure out what events are causing big changes?
Kevin Sayer: With the Dexcom G5 Mobile CGM System, you have access to a unique cloud-based reporting system called Dexcom CLARITY, which gives you the ability to access and track your glucose data anywhere with an internet connection. Users can quickly access important insights that help in the assessment of their health, including highs, lows, daytime, nighttime and best day. They can even find their average glucose reading or their risk for hypoglycemia. This is a great way to spot trends and have fruitful discussions with their health care providers.
Product page: Dexcom G5…