Are You Wearing A Glucose Monitor In The Wrong Spot?

Many people with diabetes experiment with placement of their continuous glucose monitors and get good results, a new study finds.

A continuous glucose monitor is a sensor inserted under the skin that tracks blood sugar levels. People with type 1 diabetes — and some with type 2 diabetes — can use this near-constant stream of information to make decisions about eating, exercising and insulin dosing. (People with type 1 diabetes need synthetic insulin in order to use the sugar in food as fuel.)

To see where monitors were actually being worn, researchers culled social media posts for images of people using continuous glucose monitors made by Dexcom.

“This study identified that 64 percent of individuals in our sample were not wearing their Dexcom in an FDA-approved location,” said Michelle Litchman, the study’s lead author. She’s an assistant professor at the University of Utah College of Nursing.

Dexcom is one of a few continuous glucose monitors on the market. In adults, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Dexcom monitors for use on the abdomen.

In children up to age 17, the device is approved for use on the abdomen and the upper buttocks, said Camilla Levister, a certified diabetes educator at the Mount Sinai Diabetes Center in New York City. Levister was not involved in the study.

Litchman said she noticed that her patients were wearing their monitors all over, and she wanted to know more about how well these non-FDA-approved sites worked.

She and her colleagues searched the social media site Instagram. They found 353 posts featuring people wearing Dexcom monitors.

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