Dexcom is the leader in the market of Continuous Glucose Monitoring. I say this as a fact because on January 12, 2017 when the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services made the decision to cover therapeutic CGM’s, the only one officially FDA approved for accuracy great enough to make dosing decisions from was the Dexcom G5 Mobile System.
I’m sure this decision was a tough blow to the one of the leading insulin pump manufacturers, who also has a CGM system, Medtronic. Because of this, I would anticipate that Medtronic will not be far behind in getting FDA approval for dosing decisions. With that being said, I wanted to take a look into the Dexcom G4 Platinum System and its benefits.
Dexcom G4 Platinum CGM System
The new platinum system offers the same features of the G4 system but now the receiver comes with the Share technology (Bluetooth capability) built right into it.
What is it?
The G4 Platinum System is a system that is able to be worn externally with the use of an internal sensor. This sensor continuously measures blood sugar levels in the fluid between the cells in the body, this fluid is called the interstitial fluid. The system reports blood glucose levels every 5 minutes as well as trends in real time data for up to 7 days.
How does CGM Technology Work?
The Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitoring G4 Platinum System helps to do what a typical meter cannot. Blood sugar meters give you a number for that period of time when you tested yourself. But a CGM system will provide you with 24/7 glucose information to show you where it is at a certain moment and where it may be headed as well as how fast it is headed in that direction.
The G4 Platinum System Has Three Parts:
- A tiny sensor that helps to measure your blood sugar levels underneath your skin.
- A transmitter that attaches to the top of your sensor to send your data wirelessly to a receiver.
- A Receiver that shows your blood sugar trends in color so that you can easily see when your numbers are going high, low or staying in range.
Benefits to the G4 Platinum System
The system was designed to be comfortable and discreet.
- Only a fraction of the typical weight of smartphones at 2.4 oz.
- Features the longest FDA approved sensor life of 7 days. This means sensor changes only have to occur one time each week.
- Receiver offers a 20ft transmission range which is 3x as far as its competitors.
- A variety of melodies and tones to help you pick what works best for you.
How Does It Help?
Those with diabetes can use this system to track any trending blood sugar levels to gain a better understanding of patterns. The system alerts those who are wearing it for potentially high or low blood sugars. This allows them to test using a standard blood sugar meter and treat or correct appropriately to prevent these numbers from occurring.
The accuracy of the G4 Platinum System is much better than previous Dexcom versions and many competitors on the market. The accuracy from the Dexcom 7 system to the G4 Platinum system was an increase of 19% with a 30% improvement of detecting hypoglycemia episodes.
The smaller insertion needle makes for a much more comfortable insert. Children as young as 7 and 8 years old have been able to insert the sensor themselves without much effort. The diameter of the sensor is no more than that of a strand of hair. You really don’t feel it when it is inserted under the skin.
Dexcom offers the ability to charge your system when you are on the go by use of a USB port in your car. There are also now three different colors to choose from for your receiver system. More custom tones have been added and the color on the screen even changes if your blood sugar is high, low or in range.
G4 Platinum SHARE Feature
Managing a child’s blood sugars when they have type 1 diabetes is so challenging. It’s a constant guessing game of if they are high or low. This is one of the reasons that many parents love the new system. Dexcom has taken their system to the next level by offering the SHARE feature.
This takes away some of the invisibility of numbers with diabetes. How it works is really pretty simple. The sensor you or your child is wearing communicates with the receiver, the information from the receiver is then sent into the could which is transmitted to a mobile phone via a Dexcom Share App.
This means that when your child is at school or somewhere other than at home under your watchful eye, you will be able to see their blood sugar data. Night time checks are becoming a thing of the past for many parents because they can roll over to see where their child is trending and decide whether or not an action is needed or if they can go back to be.
Why Choose Continuous Glucose Monitoring?
The simple answer of why you should be using a CGM system is that of safety. Checking your blood sugar repeatedly becomes painful and time consuming, not to mention costly with the number of strips you have to keep using. With diabetes, you know there will really isn’t a solid consistent number, there are always constant fluctuations.
So when you have diabetes or a child with diabetes and go to bed, so many variables could come into play to make your numbers fluctuate low or high, which could be dangerous. But with a CGM system you get an indication, an inside picture into what is going on. You will get an idea of the number is going up or going down. This allows you to treat and correct before this happens so that you don’t see that high or low number occur.
Improved a1c Results
When you are more on top of your blood sugar control, an improvement in your a1c is just bound to happen. By looking over your trends, you will get an idea of where you need to adjust your basal rates and even your carb ratios. The CGM also gives you a look into any troubling areas like spikes after you eat or low blood sugars during the night.
This is especially useful for kids going through growth spurts or puberty as they are always so inconsistent with their blood sugar trends.
Cons of the G4 Platinum System
- Everything good also has its downsides too.
- Children now have to carry three items on them for the Share feature to work, an iPhone, the receiver and of course the sensor they are wearing.
- The phone and receiver must always stay charged for the system to continue working properly.
- Your phone may begin alerting you frequently which can increase worry if you are following your child’s blood sugars.
- Leaving Bluetooth on all the time can take a toll on your battery life.
With that being said, the downsides of the system definitely are outweighed by the pros of the system. It’s an amazing tool to have in your tool box when it comes to managing diabetes. Many parents and even PWDs have reported it to be a welcoming addition to their family. It helps to relieve stress and worry that those with Diabetes and parents always have on their minds.
You can order yours on Amazon.