151.jpegContinuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) systems give you real-time insights into your glucose levels, helping you manage diabetes more effectively. Unlike traditional methods, CGM provides constant glucose readings so you can adjust your lifestyle or treatment promptly. This ongoing feedback is crucial for people with diabetes to keep their glucose levels in check and reduce the risk of complications.

But it’s not just about diabetes – CGM has wider health benefits, too. It helps you see how food, exercise, stress, and sleep affect your glucose levels so you can make informed choices for a healthier life. Whether you want to boost your metabolism, increase energy, or work on weight management, CGM is a fantastic tool to have.

At HealthspanMD Cardiology, R. Todd Hurst, MD uses CGM in clinical practice to help patients understand their bodies and make healthy goals.

Dr. Hurst says, 'What we've recognized is that there is no one size fits all anything for anybody, right? I tell people when we start together… I don't know what your path will be because it's unique to you.”

CGM provides unique insights into the body's response to various stimuli throughout the day, allowing us to enter that level of personalization into your care plan.

Schedule an appointment with HealthspanMD to discover individualized insights and take proactive steps toward your wellness goals.

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Keep reading to learn more about how continuous glucose monitoring can benefit you, whether you have diabetes or not.

Understanding Continuous Glucose Monitoring

Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) is a revolutionary method of monitoring diabetes and managing blood sugar levels. Rather than the traditional, intermittent checking that requires finger-pricking, CGM systems involve a small sensor typically placed under the skin of the abdomen or arm. This sensor measures glucose levels (often called blood sugar) in the interstitial fluid and sends real-time data to a receiver or smartphone, providing updates on blood glucose levels every few minutes.

CGM devices have dramatically evolved over time. Initially, they were cumbersome, expensive, and primarily used by individuals with type 1 diabetes under strict medical supervision. Thanks to technological advancements, CGM systems have become more accurate, user-friendly, and accessible. They have shrunk in size, and the process of implanting sensors has become simpler and less invasive.

The Freestyle Libre device, for instance, is a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system that checks glucose levels in fluid under your skin. It has just two parts:

  • A small sensor
  • A reader or smartphone app

You scan the sensor with the reader or smartphone to get glucose readings. When the reader or smartphone is close to the sensor, it wirelessly reads the glucose data and shows it on the screen. The reader or smartphone app can also show glucose trends, patterns, and alerts for high or low glucose levels.

The American Diabetes Association and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases have both acknowledged the importance of blood glucose monitoring in the management of diabetes. They note that maintaining blood glucose levels within a target range can significantly reduce the risk of diabetes complications, such as nerve damage, kidney failure, and cardiovascular diseases.

Today's CGM devices have expanded their reach beyond the diabetes community. They now serve as powerful tools for anyone interested in closely monitoring their glucose responses to diet, exercise, and other lifestyle factors. This broadened applicability, combined with the convenience and efficiency of modern CGM systems, highlights their role in the contemporary approach to health and wellness, making blood sugar monitoring a routine practice not just for those with diabetes but for a wider audience seeking to optimize their metabolic health.

CGM: Not Just for Diabetes Care

Numerous studies highlight the advantages of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) for individuals without diabetes, revealing how diet, sleep, and physical activity affect blood glucose levels. Even among people without diabetes, significant fluctuations in blood sugar levels can occur due to varying dietary choices, underscoring the impact of food on metabolic health. Participants using CGM could identify foods that led to spikes in high blood sugar, allowing them to adjust their diets accordingly to maintain more stable glucose levels.

Poor sleep quality or insufficient sleep duration can also lead to elevated blood sugar levels, which can be seen by monitoring glucose fluctuations as part of a comprehensive approach to improving sleep hygiene.

Individuals engaging in regular exercise also show more stable blood sugar levels over time, as monitored by CGM. The continuous glucose monitor provided immediate feedback on how different types and intensities of exercise impact blood sugar level, enabling users to optimize their workout routines for better metabolic outcomes.

In this way, CGM is not just for those with diabetes, but for anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of their body's responses to lifestyle factors. As Healthspan Coach Rielyn Hoffman says, “There's no bad data. It's just information that helps you and fuels you in the future.”

By unveiling patterns in glucose levels, CGM empowers individuals to make informed decisions that enhance overall health and prevent potential issues related to high blood sugar, making it a vital tool in preventive health care.

Benefits of CGM for Overall Health

Monitoring glucose levels is crucial in weight management and preventing diabetes complications. Regular blood sugar monitoring can help individuals identify how different foods impact their glucose spikes: frequent, significant variations can trigger cravings and increase the risk of overeating, leading to weight gain.

At HealthspanMD, we’ve seen this effect in action: 'I've had so many people come back and say, I'm shocked what grapes did to my blood sugar,” says Dr. Hurst. “They're like a sugar bomb.” By using data from CGM, people can adjust their diets to include foods that maintain stable blood sugar levels, contributing to better appetite control and supporting weight loss or maintenance efforts.

Stable blood glucose monitoring also sheds light on the body's metabolic efficiency. Fluctuations in blood sugar levels can signal metabolic imbalances that, if unaddressed, may escalate into metabolic syndrome—a cluster of conditions including increased blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels. These conditions heighten the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

By using CGM proactively, you get a deep dive into how your daily choices impact your blood sugar levels. It's a game-changer in warding off metabolic syndrome and related issues.

“It's like a movie versus a snapshot,” says Rielyn. “CGM really shows you what's going on with your blood sugar and the effect it's having.”

CGM is key in looking after your metabolic health and taking a well-rounded approach to staying healthy, focusing on preventing diabetes issues through careful blood sugar tracking.

CGM and the Healthspan-10™ Method

The Healthspan-10™ method, as presented by HealthspanMD Cardiology, emphasizes optimizing ten key areas of health to prolong the period of life spent in good health. CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitoring) devices play a crucial role in achieving one of the most critical aspects of the Healthspan-10™ methodology — maintaining target blood sugar ranges.

Under the guidance of Dr. Hurst, founder of HealthspanMD, patients are empowered to gain real-time insights into their blood sugar levels.

'That immediate feedback [from GCM] is really valuable because [of] several things,” says Dr. Hurst. “One, it really gives us an assessment of their blood sugar metabolism… It's also a crazy effective tool in helping people understand what's driving their blood sugar.”

When should you take GCM readings to receive the most important data? HealthspanMD has a few guidelines:

  1. Upon waking up. Glucose tends to rise for most people in the morning, even if they have fasted overnight. This is based on your circadian rhythm and is known as the “dawn phenomenon.”
  2. After exercising. Blood sugar may rise during exercise.
  3. After a meal or snack. Notice and note the effects certain foods have on your blood sugar. Make note of these.
  4. When you feel stressed. Cortisol and adrenaline (stress hormones) cause an increase in blood sugar. Notice when you’re feeling stressed and if it has a significant impact on blood sugar.
  5. After practicing stress management/relaxing. You should understand what happens when you cool down, too.
  6. If you have an alcoholic drink or smoke. Notice the effect during and the morning after.
  7. Before you go to sleep. This can help you understand how your sleep is affecting your blood sugar. 

By consistently monitoring and adjusting to maintain target blood sugar ranges, patients can significantly reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases associated with poor glucose control. Dr. Hurst and the HealthspanMD Cardiology team also leverage the data obtained from blood sugar reading devices to tailor recommendations and interventions, helping patients achieve not just longevity, but a healthier, more vibrant life.

Get Started With HealthspanMD Today

If you're ready to take control of your health and explore how Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) can play a part in your health optimization strategy, HealthspanMD is here to guide you. Whether you're managing diabetes or simply interested in maintaining your metabolic health, CGM provides invaluable insights into how your body responds to lifestyle choices.

Start your journey with HealthspanMD Cardiology today and take the first step towards a healthier, more informed future.

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