A Comprehensive Guide to 24-Hour Glucose Monitors

Angela Breslin, RN
March 8, 2024
min read

Understanding CGM and Importance of Monitoring

If you're here because you've heard about 24-hour glucose monitors and are wondering what they're all about, you're in the right place. In simple terms, a Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) device is like a 24/7 health guardian that keeps an eye on your blood sugar levels, without you having to prick your finger multiple times a day.

For people with diabetes, especially if you're of retirement age and looking for ease and accuracy in monitoring your health, a CGM can be a game-changer. It's not just about fewer finger pricks; it's about getting real-time data on your blood glucose levels, which can help manage your diabetes more effectively and prevent complications.

  • Real-time updates: Know your glucose level at any moment without needing to draw blood.
  • Trends and patterns: Understand how your lifestyle affects your blood sugar over time.
  • Alerts: Get warnings about high or low blood sugar levels, so you can act quickly.

CGMs cater especially well to individuals facing challenges in managing chronic conditions like diabetes, offering a blend of convenience, personal care, and a deeper insight into your health.

Infographic summarizing CGM benefits - Shows a graph from a CGM device depicting stable blood glucose levels over a 24-hour period, indicating fewer spikes and drops due to better management. Below, bullet points highlight key benefits: Real-time monitoring, Less finger-pricking, Trend analysis for better management, and High/Low alerts to act upon - 24 hour glucose monitor infographic step-infographic-4-steps

In our journey today, we'll dive deeper into what CGM is, how it works, and why adopting this technology could be a significant step towards better health and peace of mind.

What is Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM)?

Imagine having a tiny guardian angel that whispers to you about your blood sugar levels, helping you make smart choices throughout the day. That's essentially what a 24-hour glucose monitor, or CGM, does.


A Continuous Glucose Monitoring system is a high-tech device designed to track glucose levels in your body around the clock. Unlike traditional blood glucose meters, a CGM provides a dynamic view of your blood sugar trends, not just a snapshot.

Blood Glucose Levels

Your blood glucose level is a critical measure of your body's energy supply. Too high or too low can lead to serious health issues. CGMs keep an eye on these levels, giving you a real-time insight into how foods, activities, and medications affect your glucose.

Real-Time Tracking

The magic of CGM lies in its ability to offer real-time tracking. With a tiny sensor inserted under your skin, it continuously measures glucose levels in the fluid between your cells. This data is then wirelessly transmitted to a receiver, a smartphone, or an insulin pump, displaying your glucose levels at any moment.

This means you can see how your glucose levels change throughout the day and night, allowing you to adjust your activities or treatment in real-time. No more guesswork. No more surprises.

Imagine going for a run and being able to see how it lowers your glucose, or noticing how a particular meal raises it more than expected. This level of insight is a game-changer for managing diabetes or even for those simply looking to understand their body better.

glucose monitor display - 24 hour glucose monitor

Continuous Glucose Monitoring systems, like the Abbott FreeStyle Libre mentioned in our research, represent a significant leap forward in diabetes care. They offer a less invasive, more informative way to monitor blood glucose levels, empowering users with the knowledge they need to take control of their health.

We'll explore the benefits of using a 24-hour glucose monitor and how it can lead to better management of your health, fewer emergencies, and a deeper understanding of your body's unique patterns and needs. Stay tuned as we delve into how to choose the right CGM for you, addressing common questions and ensuring you have all the information needed to make an informed decision.

How Does a CGM Work?

Understanding how a 24-hour glucose monitor, or CGM, works can help you see its value in managing diabetes. Let's break it down into simple parts: the sensor, transmitter, receiver, and smartphone apps. Brands like Abbott FreeStyle Libre and Dexcom are at the forefront of this technology, offering different features that cater to users' needs.


The journey starts with a tiny sensor, usually placed under the skin on your belly or arm. Think of it as a mini-spy, constantly checking the glucose levels in the fluid between your cells. This is a critical part, as it's what measures your glucose levels continuously. Depending on the model, sensors can be disposable or implantable, needing replacement every few weeks or months.


Next up is the transmitter. This little gadget has one job: to send the data from the sensor to a receiver or smartphone. It's like a messenger, wirelessly transmitting the information without any fuss.


The receiver can be a standalone device, an insulin pump, or even your smartphone. It displays the glucose data in an easy-to-understand format, allowing you to track your levels in real-time. This is where you see the magic happen, watching your glucose levels rise and fall throughout the day.

Smartphone Apps

CGM systems like the Abbott FreeStyle Libre and Dexcom G7 offer smartphone apps. These apps not only display your glucose levels but also help you spot trends, set alarms for high or low levels, and even share data with your healthcare provider. It's like having a diabetes management coach right in your pocket.

Abbott FreeStyle Libre

The FreeStyle Libre system is known for its ease of use. You apply a sensor to your arm, and it measures glucose levels without the need for fingerstick calibrations. You can scan the sensor with a reader or a smartphone to see your glucose levels anytime. It's straightforward and hassle-free, making it a popular choice among users.


Dexcom systems, like the Dexcom G7, offer real-time glucose monitoring with alerts sent directly to your smartphone or receiver. This system requires a bit more interaction, including calibration with blood glucose meter readings, but it provides minute-by-minute updates on your glucose levels.

A 24-hour glucose monitor works by continuously tracking your glucose levels through a sensor, sending this information to a receiver or smartphone app, and giving you the tools to manage your diabetes more effectively. Whether you choose a system like Abbott FreeStyle Libre for its simplicity or Dexcom for its detailed alerts, you're taking a significant step towards better health management.

We'll explore how to choose the right CGM for you, addressing common questions to ensure you're equipped to make an informed decision.

Benefits of Using a 24-Hour Glucose Monitor

Better Management

One of the most compelling reasons to use a 24-hour glucose monitor is the unparalleled control it offers over your diabetes management. With continuous data at your fingertips, you can see exactly how foods, activities, and medications affect your glucose levels. This real-time feedback enables you to make immediate adjustments to your diet or exercise routine, promoting better overall health.

Fewer Emergencies

The fear of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) can loom large for anyone managing diabetes. A 24-hour glucose monitor can significantly reduce this anxiety. With alerts that notify you when your glucose levels are heading too high or too low, you have the opportunity to take action before it becomes an emergency. This proactive approach can mean fewer unexpected hospital visits and a safer, more stable condition.

Trends and Patterns

Understanding the bigger picture of your glucose management can be just as important as managing day-to-day fluctuations. A 24-hour glucose monitor tracks your glucose levels over time, allowing you to identify patterns that you might not notice otherwise. Maybe your blood sugar spikes every Tuesday because that's when you have a particular stressful meeting, or perhaps it dips on days you skip breakfast. Recognizing these trends helps you adjust your routine for better control.

Alerts and Alarms

One of the most innovative features of modern 24-hour glucose monitors is the ability to set alerts and alarms for specific glucose thresholds. Whether you're sleeping, working, or simply enjoying your day, your CGM is always on guard. If your glucose levels fall too low or climb too high, an alarm will sound, prompting you to check your glucose and take appropriate action. This feature is particularly valuable during the night, safeguarding against the dangers of nocturnal hypoglycemia.

The benefits of using a 24-hour glucose monitor are clear. From offering better day-to-day management of your diabetes to providing peace of mind with fewer emergencies, the advantages are profound. The ability to recognize trends and patterns in your glucose levels, coupled with the security of alerts and alarms, makes a CGM an invaluable tool in your diabetes care arsenal.

As we delve into choosing the right CGM for you, keep these benefits in mind. Whether your priority is detailed data analysis or simple, hassle-free monitoring, there's a 24-hour glucose monitor out there that fits your lifestyle and meets your needs.

Choosing the Right CGM for You

When you're ready to take control of your diabetes management with a 24-hour glucose monitor, it's important to choose the one that best fits your lifestyle and health needs. Let's break down the options and considerations to help you make an informed decision.

Real-Time vs. Intermittent-Scan

  • Real-Time CGMs provide glucose readings continuously, sending data directly to your smartphone or receiver without the need for manual scanning. This means you can see your glucose levels and trends at any time, making it easier to manage your diabetes on the go.

  • Intermittent-Scan CGMs, like the Abbott FreeStyle Libre 2, require you to scan the sensor with a reader or smartphone to view your glucose data. While this might seem like an extra step, it offers flexibility and control over when and how you check your glucose levels.

Sensor Placement and Calibration Needs

The placement of the CGM sensor is usually on the belly or arm, where it can measure glucose levels in the interstitial fluid. Some CGMs, including the Abbott FreeStyle Libre 2 and FreeStyle Libre 3, are known for their ease of application and comfort, making them a popular choice among users.

Calibration is another important factor. Some CGMs require fingerstick tests for calibration to ensure accuracy, while others, like the FreeStyle Libre 3, do not require regular calibration, simplifying the monitoring process.

Compatibility with Smartphones

In today's connected world, having a CGM that pairs with your smartphone is a huge plus. The FreeStyle Libre 2 and FreeStyle Libre 3 apps offer real-time glucose alarms and readings every minute, directly on your phone. This feature not only keeps you informed but also allows for easy data sharing with healthcare providers and loved ones.

Abbott FreeStyle Libre 2 and FreeStyle Libre 3

When considering the Abbott FreeStyle Libre series, both the FreeStyle Libre 2 and FreeStyle Libre 3 stand out for their innovative features:

  • FreeStyle Libre 2: Known for its accuracy and reliability, this CGM offers optional real-time glucose alarms, helping you stay on top of high and low glucose levels. It's a great choice for those who want a balance between manual control and automatic alerts.

  • FreeStyle Libre 3: The latest in the series, it boasts the smallest and thinnest sensor, making it almost invisible when worn. With no need for scanning and a seamless connection to your smartphone, it offers the ultimate convenience in glucose monitoring.

Choosing the right CGM involves considering how active you want to be in your glucose monitoring, your comfort with technology, and your specific health needs. Whether you prefer the real-time data and alarms of the FreeStyle Libre 2 or the discreet, hassle-free monitoring of the FreeStyle Libre 3, there's a 24-hour glucose monitor designed to fit your life.

The right CGM can transform your diabetes management, offering you the freedom to live life on your terms.

Frequently Asked Questions about 24-Hour Glucose Monitors

Navigating 24-hour glucose monitors (CGMs) can bring up a lot of questions. Let's dive into some of the most common questions to help you understand more about these devices.

Do I Need a Prescription for a CGM?

Yes, you do need a prescription for a CGM. These devices are considered medical equipment and must be prescribed by a healthcare provider. This ensures that the device is suitable for your specific health needs and that you're properly educated on how to use it effectively.

Can Non-Diabetics Use CGM?

Interestingly, CGMs are not just for people with diabetes. Non-diabetics, especially those with prediabetes or those at risk of developing diabetes, can also use CGMs. This was echoed by Eugene E. Wright, Jr., who mentioned that CGMs are very useful for people with prediabetes since early diagnosis and treatment can reduce diabetes complications significantly.

So, if you're someone who's concerned about your blood sugar levels or you're at risk of diabetes, talking to your healthcare provider about CGM could be a proactive step towards managing your health.

How to Interpret CGM Data?

Understanding the data from your CGM can seem daunting at first, but it's quite straightforward once you get the hang of it. Here's a quick guide:

  • Glucose Trend Graph: This shows your glucose levels over time. Look for patterns, like spikes after meals or overnight lows.
  • Time in Range: This is the percentage of time your glucose levels were within your target range. It's a good indicator of how well your management plan is working.
  • Glucose Variability: This measures how much your glucose levels fluctuate. Less variability is generally better and means your glucose levels are more stable.

Interpreting this data can help you and your healthcare provider make informed decisions about your diet, exercise, and medication. While CGMs provide valuable insights, they don't replace the need for regular check-ups with your healthcare provider.

Managing Glucose Levels

Managing your glucose levels involves understanding the factors that affect them, like food, activity, stress, and medication. Use the data from your CGM to notice how these factors impact your levels and discuss with your healthcare provider how you might need to adjust your management plan.

Each person's body responds differently, so what works for someone else might not work for you. It's all about finding the right balance and making adjustments based on your own CGM data and experiences.

Remember that ProMed DME is committed to providing quality CGM systems and exceptional customer service to help you manage your diabetes effectively. Whether you're new to CGM or looking to optimize your diabetes management, we're here to support you every step of the way.


At ProMed DME, we understand that managing diabetes is a 24/7 commitment that requires the best tools and support. That's why we're dedicated to offering top-tier Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) systems, including the highly acclaimed 24-hour glucose monitors. Our commitment to quality ensures that each product we offer meets stringent standards, providing you with reliable and accurate glucose monitoring solutions.

Exceptional Customer Service is at the heart of everything we do. We know that navigating CGM can be overwhelming, which is why our team is always ready to assist you. From helping you select the right 24-hour glucose monitor to fit your lifestyle, to answering any questions you may have about using your device, we're here to make your journey as smooth as possible.

We believe that everyone deserves access to the best diabetes management tools. Our selection of CGM systems, including the renowned Abbott FreeStyle Libre, is designed to empower you to take control of your health. With real-time tracking, alerts, and the ability to uncover trends and patterns in your glucose levels, our CGM solutions are more than just devices—they are companions in your diabetes management journey.

Choosing ProMed DME means opting for a partner who understands the importance of accuracy, convenience, and support in diabetes care. Let us help you live a healthier, more manageable life with diabetes. Explore our range of CGM systems and discover how we can enhance your diabetes management strategy today.

Your health deserves nothing less than the best. Trust ProMed DME to be your reliable partner in this journey.

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