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All About the Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM): why I love it and how it helps my diabetes

We recently got an email from a reader who loves his Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) and wanted to share why it’s so effective. To find out what a CGM is, and what your options are in South Africa, check out this article: What is a CGM?

My diabetes story

I’ve been a Type 1 Diabetic since 2006 (at age 27). I’m on MDI (multiple daily injections) and not on an insulin pump. Apidra and Lantus are the insulins I use. A few years ago, I started using a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM). It made a massive difference in how I treat my diabetes, and I wanted to share my experience.

Advantages of the CGM

I don’t think everyone knows the power of a CGM, such as:

  • It gives me a reading every 5 minutes
  • Given the above, it provides a graph which clearly shows you that you are going high or low
  • It provides alarms to alert you about lows and highs – very useful at night.
  • It offers useful statistics, you can calculate your average and time in target much better.
  • It is helpful to see the dawn phenomenon in action when you wake up, i.e. easily correct your basal rate (long-acting insulin).
  • It’s useful when exercising: you don’t have to stop to test your blood sugar, you can just check your graph all the time.
  • Glucose values can be automatically uploaded online so that family members can monitor you remotely. This feature is very handy for keeping track of Type 1 diabetic children.

Which brand CGM to choose?

I experienced the FreeStyle Libre (which is more of a flash glucose monitor than a CGM) and I’ve used the Dexcom G4 now. Yes, the sad part is that they are expensive, but some people might be able to afford them. The G4 sensor is suppose to be used for only 7 days, but many people get 3-4 weeks out of them. My first sensor lasted 30 days, which makes them more affordable.  

I have a blog where I post CGM related stuff once in a while:  

– Jaco    

Jaco also sent a link to his Type 1 Diabetes Survival Kit, which is very helpful!

What to read next?

What is a CGM? We unpack the difference between CGM and Flash Glucose Monitoring so you know what to choose.

We did it! How to claim the Discovery CGM Benefit: A step-by-step guide to how to claim the CGM Benefit from Discovery.

Your options on the Discovery CGM Benefit: There are 3 options for CGM in South Africa, here they are.

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  1. Andy Cader Andy Cader

    I’ve been asking about a CGM for years now. We most certainly have the technology to create them utilizing an implanted transmitter and a wrist worn receiver.

    That they are still too expensive for us diabetics is just robbery by the manufacturers…. we buy their insulin, and they should make these freely available…. It will improve the lives of millions on the planet, especially children.

  2. joycekobuoe joycekobuoe

    Hi im type diabetic please send info about scanner for testing glucose thanks

  3. ulfsalie ulfsalie


    I really want to get my hands in a CGM system, I would like to know where and how to purchase

    Please advise

    • Hi there,
      There are a few options – do you know which brand you want? You can call the companies directly or the CDE in Houghton (Joburg) to ask for recommendations:

  4. Thasneem Mahomed Thasneem Mahomed

    Where can I purchase a CGM in South Africa

What do you think?

Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.