Sensor & Pump
"I get tired of the CGM beeping at me at times especially if my blood sugar is low and I’m waiting for it to climb, but I’m thankful it wakes me up at night!!!” - Joyce, 63
Not a fan of needles? With both a pump and a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), you can minimize the number of needles you use on a daily basis. The CGM measures your blood sugar every few minutes to show you a continuous picture of what’s happening. You can easily correct for high blood sugar by pressing a few buttons on your insulin pump. You can see your blood sugar trends, and on some models, get alerts if your blood sugar goes too high or too low.
WISDOM FROM OTHERS USING A SENSOR & PUMP
“I gave myself about a month to get used to it, and I'm glad I did.” -Kat, 45
Count carbs and type into pump at meals.
Check blood sugar with a meter one to two times a day to calibrate or double check sensor readings. If necessary, it is best to calibrate in the morning or when your blood sugar is not rising or falling quickly.
Look at the CGM value if you feel low or high, or an alert goes off.
Change the CGM sensor. CGM sensors can be worn for 6-10 days, but some people choose to extend this time by restarting sensor sessions. The sensor values typically become more accurate 24 hours after insertion, once the sensor has adjusted to the new spot.
Change insulin pump infusion set and cartridge. Pump infusion sets usually last two to three days. Insulin cartridge changes should be changed when you are running low on insulin in your pump. The frequency of how often you will change your cartridge depends on how much insulin you use, but most cartridges hold 200-300 units of insulin. Many people coordinate set and cartridge changes so they do both at the same time.
Order new sensors and pump supplies. Pump companies make it easy to re-order a 3-month supply online or over the phone, which get shipped directly to your door. Some suppliers are able to include sensor reorders in the same shipment. If not, you can order them separately for delivery or pick them up at your local pharmacy. It’s rare, but if a sensor or infusion set rips off or gets damaged, you can call to get a free replacement.
Some types of CGM transmitters run out of battery after a certain amount of time, so you’ll need to order a replacement before your last one dies.
Order new pump. The warranty on insulin pumps typically ends after four years. This is when you can get a new version of your insulin pump or consider changing to a different brand.
“I’m not going to lie. The CGM is expensive. It should be less. BUT I’m not headed the ER. That’s way more expensive.” - Sara, 32
CGMs and pumps are expensive no matter what insurance you have, but there are ways to make it less expensive. What you get out of it makes it worth the money for a lot of people.
Dealing with insurance is tough, but you can do it! Check out our How To Get It Guide to get the basics straight and understand what you'll need to get approved.
- Fewer Pricks and Needles
Compared to multiple daily injections, a pump only requires you to insert the infusion set once every two to three days. Compared to a meter, a CGM only needs one to two finger pricks a day.
Prevent lows and highs before they happen. The CGM shows you which direction your blood sugar is headed and how fast. Some brands will alarm during the day or night to help alert you when you have a low or high blood sugar. With some pumps, you can lower your insulin intake for a specific period of time if you know you are going to exercise.
- Ease of Insulin Delivery
With both a CGM and a pump, not only do you get a blood sugar reading 24/7, you also have the ability to correct blood sugars quickly and easily through your pump.
- Alerts and Alarms
Some people get overwhelmed with too many alerts sounding from their devices, and sometimes the alerts can seem more annoying than helpful. You can always tailor them to fit your needs and wants, or turn them off entirely (except the emergency low alarm).
- Attachment to Devices
Wearing an insulin pump and CGM means you will have two devices attached to your body. You can attach your pump to your clothes with a clip or put it in a pocket. Some people detach their insulin pump for up to one hour for swimming, showering, sex, or working out. Some CGMs have receivers, and others can be linked to your cell phone, which can reduce the number of devices you have to carry!