Continuous glucose monitoring (CGMs)

You can check your sugar levels at any time with a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).

It lets you see patterns in your levels and sends you an alert if your sugar (glucose) is too high or low.

If your blood glucose reading is:

A CGM is made up of:

  • a sensor – a small device you attach to your tummy that senses how much sugar is in the fluid under your skin, called interstitial fluid
  • a transmitter – attached to the sensor, which sends results to a receiver
  • a receiver – a small box that displays your sugar levels, which you can carry on your belt or in your bag

You generally need to replace a sensor every 7 days. Some models can be worn for several months.

Interstitial fluid sugar readings are a few minutes behind your blood sugar levels. This means you'll still need to do finger-prick checks every now and then.

To get the best out of a CGM, you'll need to look at the information it gives you with your team.

How to get continuous glucose monitoring (CGM)

You can buy a CGM yourself

As a rough guide, it costs around:

  • £1,000 for a monitor that does not need a pump
  • £500 for a monitor that works with an insulin pump
  • £60 for sensors (they last for 2 weeks)

When CGM is funded by the NHS

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) states there's not enough evidence to show CGMs are cost-effective enough for everyone with type 1 diabetes.

NICE recommends offering CGMs on the NHS to people struggling with hypos or who have hypos without warning.

But access to CGMs on the NHS varies throughout England.

The charity INPUT has more information on NHS funding for CGMs.

Borrowing a CGM

Some clinics lend CGMs for a short time to help people look for patterns in their blood glucose levels if they're struggling.

Ask your diabetes team if they can do this. You might have to wait if it's already on loan.

Learn more about CGMs on the JDRF website.

Page last reviewed: 14/05/2018
Next review due: 14/05/2021