If you are someone who is looking for a wearable blood sugar/glucose monitor, you have come to the right place. In this blog post, we will list the top 5 best devices on the market. We will also discuss what blood sugar and glucose levels are, and how accurate these wearable monitors are. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below!
Diabetes is a global issue. People with diabetes are at increased risk of many other health risks as their immunity and organ functioning are always under stress. Thus, people with diabetes need to keep their glucose levels at an optimum level or in a healthy range all the time.
Glucose meters or Glucometers have been around for a long period for checking the glucose levels in the body. But since there is a need to prick and draw a drop of blood every time one wants to check his or her glucose level, it is not efficient. Further, there was no digital way to organize all the records to see a bigger picture of trends and history.
Enters CGMs, the wearable Continous Glucose Monitors that can monitor the glucose levels in the body every 5 or 10 minutes without the need for pricking. This non-invasive technique has caught quite a hype in the past few years.
This post will provide you with information about the best wearable blood sugar or glucose monitors available in the market.
What is blood sugar level and glucose level?
The terms “blood glucose” and “sugar level” are used interchangeably. The sugar level is the amount of sugar carried in circulation. This sugar is transported throughout the body and reaches cells for the production of ATPs, which are the body’s basic energy supply.
The fasting (before eating) sugar level should be less than 99 mg/dL in a healthy human being. The normal blood sugar or glucose level is 70 to 130 mg/dL before eating for people with diabetes and should be below 180 mg/dL after two hours.
Best Wearable Blood Sugar/Glucose Monitor Devices:
Here is the list of top wearable blood Sugar/Glucose Monitoring devices available in the current market:
Dexcom G6 CGM System
If you are looking for a smart diabetes monitoring and management system without the fingersticks, the Dexcom C6 CGM system might just be for you. This futuristic small wearable pair of devices comes with a sensor and a transmitter. It sends all the numbers related to your blood glucose level to your smartphone or smartwatch every five minutes.
Features of Dexcom G6 CGM System
- Dexcom G6 CGM System provides glucose data to its users using a water-resistant sensor
- Users can simply use the auto applicator to insert the sensor just beneath the skin. The suitable body parts are-
- For children of age group 2-17, Upper Buttocks is the right region
- More active people can insert the auto-applicator at the back of the upper arm
- If you want the sensor to be placed at a discreet location, you can place it on the abdomen
- The sensor sends the collected data to an iOS or Android device wirelessly through the transmitter
- User needs to change the Dexcom G6 Sensor every 10 days for optimum results
- User needs to insert the sensor at least 3 inches away from their insulin puff infusion set or injection region
- The GP Mobile app will start showing the glucose results on a graph after two hours of insertion of the sensor
- Users can see their 24 hours of data at once along with their current real-time blood glucose level
- The data can be shared with up to 10 followers like family and friends.
- Via Dexcom’s Clarity software, users can also share their data with healthcare professionals
- Dexcom G6 uses Mean Absolute Relative Difference (MARD) as a metric for measuring the glucose level. The lower the MARD value, the more accurate is the CGM.
- G6 has a MARD value of 9 percent
- FDA Approved
Dexcom G6 CGM System Compatibility:
- iOS (iPhone 6 and above up to 12)
- Android ( List of Compatible devices)
Dexcom G6 CGM System Pros
- No requirement of calibration
- Accuracy can be improved using the calibration
- 10 days sensor life
- Alerts can be customized for different times and days
- Vibrate and audio alert features
- Sharing of real-time data
- Clarity companion app for uploading and generating data automatically
- No impact of Acetaminophen use
Dexcom G6 CGM System Cons
- You need to replace the transmitter every 3 month
- With the regular change of senors, medical waste is generated
- Costly sensors and transmitters
Eversense 90-Day CGM System
The Eversense 90-Day CGM system from Senseonics allows you to actively track and manage your diabetes with utter ease and confidence. With the Under-the-skin sensor and a removable & rechargeable transmitter, you can monitor your glucose level and manage insulin intake seamlessly.
Eversense 90-Day CGM System Features
- You can easily remove and replace the transmitter without wasting the sensor
- Boasts detection of 95 percent of hypoglycemic and 99 percent of hyperglycemic alerts
- The transmitter is worn over the sensor which powers it wirelessly for transferring glucose measurement data
- Tylenol (Acetaminophen) and Vitamin C intake do not affect the accuracy of the sensor
- The sensor uses optical or fluorescence technology to measure glucose levels.
- Comes with a smartphone app that tracks your glucose levels in real time
- Sends alert whenever the sugar level rises or falls
- The transmitter is chargeable and water-resistant
- FDA approved for insulin dosing decisions
- The implantation needs to be done by an expert physician
- You do not need to carry any inserters or re-insert the sensor every now and then
Eversense 90-Day CGM System Compatibility:
Here is the list of devices (smartphones)
- iPhone 5S and recent.
- iPod Touch 5th and 6th Generations
- iPad iPad Mini (Retina), iPad Air (Retina)
- ANDROID (5.0 TO 12.X) and more…
Eversense 90-Day CGM System Pros
- For a free arm, you can easily remove the Eversense transmitter without any medical waste.
- The Alert history is particularly great for tracking your Blood Glucose levels.
- Data sharing on the app is easy and smooth.
- The daily adhesive stays really well in the region where it is stuck and comes off without any fuss.
Eversense 90-Day CGM System Cons
- The transmitter needs to be removed every day for charging and changing of the adhesive
- The adhesive must be worn for a period of 3 months at the same spot. This can be an issue for users with skin irritation problems
Guardian Connect System – Connects to your Apple Device (and some Androids) and is easy-to-use Blood Glucose Monitor
If you are living with diabetes and require to have oral medication or insulin shots daily then Guardian Connect System is a one of its kind Continous Glucose Monitoring device that will help you to keep track of your blood glucose levels. This is the modern way to manage and keep your diabetes in check.
Guardian Connect System Features
Designed by Medtronic, Guardian Connect Continous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) allows the users to –
- Keep a track of current glucose levels and trends on their mobile phone, all the time
- With the Alert feature that includes predictive alerts (60 minutes in advance) for high and low glucose levels
- You can easily connect with care partners and healthcare professionals (HCPs), thanks to the CareLink System Platform
- With the CareLink System Platform, you can enable care partner remote monitoring and HCP therapy using the internet
- For iOS users, there is a Sugar.IQ diabetes assistant which will help you further in managing your blood glucose level
- Without the predictive alerts, it has a 90.5 percent low sugar (hypoglycemia) detection rate (when attached to the abdomen). With the predictive alerts turned on, it increases to 98.5 percent when set to 30 minutes before a low.
- You can connect your Guardian Connect system with the InPen app to get a real-time glucose reading
Guardian Connect System Compatibility :
- Guardian Connect App is compatible with iPhone 6 and above
- Guardian Connect App is also compatible with Samsung, LG, Sony, and Google Android smartphones. Click here for the full list
Guardian Connect System Pros
- One of the best standalone systems you can use without an insulin pump
- No separate receiver connects easily to your smartphone and smartwatch
- The mobile app is clean and user-friendly
- You can manually log your vital information about insulin, food, and exercise that will complement your glucose data
- Snooze feature available
Guardian Connect System Cons
- Pricing can be an issue
- Sensor and transmitter designs are not aesthetic
- Replacing the sensor and attaching the transmitter is a tedious task
- Only CGM that is not approved by FDA for use in deciding insulin dosages
MiniMed 770G System
MiniMed 770G CGM System is another sophisticated product from Medtronic that combines continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) and Insulin Pump Therapy. This system makes delivering insulin dosages at proper mealtime effortless. MiniMed 770G CGM is FDA approved product for deciding insulin dosages.
MiniMed 770G System Features
- You need to enter the number of carbs you will consume in your meal and the MiniMed 770G CGM system will automatically calculate the insulin dose at mealtime.
- This advanced and upgraded CGM device uses Bluetooth to display data on the app on your smartphone.
- You get an Insulin Pump, a CGM, and a smartphone app in the MiniMed 770G System
- The Insulin Pump calculates the background insulin required by your body using the glucose readings on the sensor and delivers it to your body via a small tube
- Using the SmartGuard Auto Mode, the MiniMed 770G can self-adjust the background insulin every five minutes
- This feature can help reduce sugar highs and lows which is great for children and young users
- The CGM tracks the sugar levels in your blood every five minutes and sends those readings to your phone in realtime
- With the App, you can see levels and trends of the sugar level in your body along with insulin delivery history
- With the CareLink Connect app, the guardians or parents can supervise the levels and trends as well
FreeStyle Libre 2 by Abbott
If you are planning about getting a new monitoring system that can continuously track your glucose levels, the FreeStyle Libre developed by Abbott Diabetes Care is one of the best ones you can consider. It is also called the “Flash Glucose Monitoring System”.
FreeStyle Libre 2 by Abbott Features
- With FreeStyle Libre, the user needs to strap a small sensor on their upper arm. The sensor needs to be scanned with a separate receiver (handheld) or smartphone app to log the glucose readings
- The sensor is in a shape of a disc with a size and thickness of two quarters stacked
- The sensor reads the interstitial fluid every minute and the handheld reader or smartphone should be held over it (about 0.4 to 1.5 inches) to scan it for the measurements
- FreeStyle Libre 2 has been approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- The sensor can be used only on the upper arm as per FDA approval and is attached to the skin using an easy-push inserter device
- After the insertion, it takes around one hour (warmup period) for the glucose reading to be available
- The scanning takes a second and the user can see their sugar level readings, trends, and history for the last 8 hours
- The sensor life is 14 days at maximum
FreeStyle Libre 2 by Abbott Compatible Devices
Here is the list of devices (smartphones)
FreeStyle Libre 2 by Abbott Pros
- The sensor is thinner and much more discreet than sensors on other popular CGMs
- No need for regular fingerstick tests for calibration of the system
- As of August 2, 2021, you can use your smartphone to scan the sensor. No need to have a separate reading device
- There are fewer alerts and helpful features that make it a great companion
- Affordable than other CGMs
- It is sold at pharmacies which make it more accessible
FreeStyle Libre 2 by Abbott Cons
- The sensor only records data for the last 8 hours
- Full view of sugar level data is available only in the retrospect
Different forms of these wearables
These wearable blood glucose or blood sugar monitor devices are available in various forms factors.
- Smartwatches – Example – K’Watch Glucose
- Wristbands – Example – Alertgy Non-invasive Wristband
- Skin patches – Example – Abbott FreeStyle Libre 2
- Contact lenses – The research met a dead end
- Smart shoes
How accurate are these Blood Sugar/ Glucose monitoring devices?
When WHO published the Global Report on Diabetes in 2016, the ones who read it were in awe. Global adult diabetes rose three times in the last 40 years. Diabetes is a curse that walks freely on the face of mankind. So, to tackle it and defeat it recurrently, we need a strategy and efficient tools. Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs) have evolved in recent years to be that tool.
At the present, CGM systems approved by FDA are developed by Medtronic, Dexcom, and Abbott. In a study where Mean Absolute Relative Difference (MARD) was used to evaluate the accuracy of different CGM devices. An overall MARD score of 10.22 percent was found.
This score makes CGMs acceptable and more than fairly accurate devices when it comes to blood glucose monitoring and tracking. This means that they can help you decide your diabetes management plan and insulin dosages effectively.
So if someone tells you CGMs are not accurate, ask them if they know about MARD score.
How do wearable glucose monitors (CGMs) work?
The working mechanism of a wearable glucose monitor is fairly simple to understand. There are usually two parts of a Continous Glucose Monitoring System (CGM)- A Sensor and a transmitter.
A small sensor is inserted under the skin (usually on the abdomen or the upper arm). This sensor reads the glucose level in regular time intervals. Then, the transmitter forwards the glucose reading to the smartphone or other devices with the app installed.
A CGM differs from a regular blood glucose monitor. The reason is, a CGM measures the glucose level in the interstitial fluid (IF) which is fluid between the body cells. But, a regular blood glucose monitor reads the glucose levels directly from the blood.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)
Does the Fitbit watch monitor glucose levels?
Fitbits are not equipped with blood glucose reading sensors. So, you cannot measure your blood sugar level using Fitbit only. But, if you own a CGM system that is compatible with your Fitbit, then you can track the readings and trends on your Fitbit smartwatch.
Does the Samsung watch monitor glucose levels?
Almost all the CGM available in the market are compatible with Samsung Galaxy smartphones. So, though you cannot use your Samsung smartwatch to read the glucose level directly, you can have all the readings on your watch via the CGM app.
Does the Apple Watch monitor glucose levels?
While Apple Watch cannot measure the blood glucose level directly, since it doesn’t come with the required hardware and sensor, you can definitely see all the readings sent from the sensor of a CGM. Almost all the FDA-approved sensors have apps that are compatible with iOS. So, in a way, you can monitor glucose levels on your Apple Watch if you have a compatible CGM system.
The research and development for better and more accurate CGMs are at full pace. In the coming years, we can be witness to more functional smartwatches (from Apple or Samsung) that will be able to monitor blood sugar on the go. For now, the options for trustworthy CGMs are limited and we have to make the best of it.