Anxious, depressed, and concerned she wouldn’t be able to lose the weight she needed to reverse her prediabetes, 41-year-old Brenda came to Parsley Health. After testing to determine her thyroid health and nutrient status, her doctor prescribed her a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). With this device, Brenda was able to learn over time which were the best (and worst) foods, activities, and sleep habits for sugar control.
Along with the lifestyle modifications, multivitamin infusions (MVIs), and berberine supplementation recommended by her personalized care plan, the CGM was key to Brenda’s recovery: within six months, she had lost 15 pounds, had less pain, and was feeling stronger and more energized . Best of all, her insulin and glucose had both returned to optimal levels—meaning she had successfully reversed her prediabetes.
A CGM is a device that tracks and measures your glucose levels throughout the day and night. This tiny, easy-to-install-and-remove sensor is inserted under your skin and transmits glucose readings to your phone or other device. You can wear a CGM for 1-2 weeks at a time, including when you’re sleeping, showering, or exercising, and collect measurements every 5-15 minutes or so. Glucose levels from a CGM are often reported in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). CGMs can also require calibration with blood glucose levels, or to confirm specific readings.
As Brenda learned, the CGM is an incredible innovation. Unlike a traditional fingerstick, or blood glucose meter, which provides a single glucose reading at a time, CGMs provides glucose information every 5-15 minutes—or roughly an average of 144 readings in a day!
With this data, you can see the real-time impact of the food you eat and the movements you make on your blood glucose levels. You can know when your blood sugar is too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia) almost as it happens.
Traditionally, CGM devices are used by people with diabetes who are treated with insulin or other medications that require monitoring, since these medications can cause acute changes in glucose levels. Patients may need to adjust their medication based on the glucose level collected at a specific time of day, and the use of a CGM in addition to the use of a blood glucose monitor (BGM) can provide valuable data for the patient and their doctor to help with these adjustments.
More recently, however, CGMs are now being used outside of the diabetic population because a lot of people experience glucose dysregulation that, over time, can lead to a variety of chronic diseases like heart disease, arthritis, and cancer .
From people at risk of diabetes or who are diagnosed with prediabetes , like Brenda, to athletes looking to optimize performance, we’re seeing many different kinds of people using CGM technology to take control of their health.
At Parsley Health, the continuous glucose monitor is one of the tools used by our medical providers to find the root cause of symptoms like hyperglycemia or high fasted levels of glucose or insulin. Even if they’re not concerned about an underlying condition, the CGM can be a helpful tool in optimizing health.
Parsley physician Dr. Jaclyn Tolentino has used a CGM herself, and was impressed by the insights it gave her. “It helped me understand how my body responded to certain meals and what my average baseline glucose level was when I was in a fasted state, as well as how certain things like stress, sleep, and exercise can influence my glucose levels. Viewing the trends on the app were very helpful, and it wasn’t inconvenient for me to wear the sensor for 2 weeks at a time.”
At Parsley Health, our leading medical providers and health coaches heal the root cause of health concerns with a personalized care plan and year-round support. Our root-cause resolution medicine has helped thousands feel better, with 85% of members reducing symptoms in their first year.