What are the limitations of continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) for the treatment of type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM)?

Updated: Sep 13, 2019
  • Author: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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Answer

CGMs have several drawbacks. First, there is a lag between glucose levels in the interstitial space and levels in capillary blood, so that the levels recorded by the CGM may differ from a fingerstick (capillary) glucose reading. For that reason, the trends (ie, whether the glucose levels are rising or falling) tend to be more helpful.

Second, patients may overtreat hyperglycemia (repeatedly giving insulin because the glucose levels do not fall rapidly enough—a phenomenon known as stacking), as well as overtreat low glucose levels (because the glucose levels rise slowly with ingestion of carbohydrate).


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