Updated: Sep 24
Managing diabetes can be challenging and severely interfere with daily routines. There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 is when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin and type 2 is when insulin resistance in the body develops over time. For both types of diabetes blood sugar checks need to happen daily, depending on the severity. I have been noticing more people using a freestyle Libre and I am so blown away by how convenient it makes checking blood sugars regularly!
Just a side note, I have no affiliation with this company and was not paid to advertise. This is my opinion on this product and how it can benefit patients.
Results of Poor Diabetes Control
Properly managing diabetes is essential. To prevent long term effects glucose levels must be checked and this can be time consuming. It is difficult to comprehend the trials a diabetic will experience daily. The recommended glucose level ranges from 80 to 150 mg/dL, depending on the patient’s history and the provider’s suggested range. If glucose levels drop too low, this can result in confusion and possibly loss of consciousness. If glucose levels are too high, this can result in tissue death overtime and cause various other health conditions.
Monitoring blood sugars can be frustrating and feel relentless. This can impair someone’s overall view of themselves and severely interfere with normal daily tasks. The stress that accompanies this illness can be very damaging physically and emotionally.
What is Freestyle Libre?
The Freestyle Libre is a device that will continuously monitor blood glucose levels when the sensor in worn. The sensor is about an inch long, the newest version is about the size of a penny with a round flat shape. It is applied on the upper arm and is to be rotated between arms every 7 to 14 days. Blood sugar readings are sent to the Libre reader in your smartphone every 15 minutes. A graph can be viewed to monitor trends and baseline levels. A current reading can be seen by holding a Libre reader over the sensor.
The supplies given for the Freestyle Libre are disposable. You don’t have to perform finger sticks and you don’t have to worry about running out of needed equipment to manage your diabetes. The Libre 2 comes with glucose alerts that will go off if glucose levels are at dangerous levels. The results of the glucose readings are given immediately and can be shared. Overall, this technology is extremely convenient and takes away the headache when frequent glucose checks are needed.
Competition: Libre vs Dexcom
There are a few types of devices that monitor glucose continuously. Besides the Libre, the other one I hear of most often is Dexcom. Both continuous glucose monitoring systems get excellent reviews, but which one is preferred? According to Timothy Aungst, a pharmacist in Massachusetts, it is all a matter of preference for the user. The Dexcom can be used by children as young as 2 years old but when using the Libre, the child can’t be younger than 4 years old. The Dexcom has an updated glucose level every 5 minutes while the Libre has an updated level every 1 minute. Dexcom has alerts for dangerous glucose levels, some are optional, but the one for very low glucose is not. Libre 2 also comes with alerts that are all optional.
Some potential users have different views on the alarms and alerts that came with these devices. According to a survey, besides cost, one of the most stated complaint is the constant alerts that come with continuous glucose monitoring systems. Here is a graph of a few of the complaints people have about these products.
Both devices are constantly being upgraded and are improving based on customer reviews. Which one the patient decides to purchase is based purely on preference and what the ultimate needs are.
Users are saying overall they like the Freestyle Libre and feel it is an easy way to keep track of blood glucose levels. The equipment is easy to buy and being the glucose levels are on their smartphone, monitoring glucose throughout the day can be done form anywhere with no hassle. It was reported that right before the sensor is due to be changed the accuracy does begin to decrease, so the last day it is recommended to check glucose levels also using a manual self-check glucose machine.
Ultimately, I think this is a very good product and many people can benefit by having an easier way to manage their diabetes. This disease is long term so why not purchase something that can make it easier to manage to prevent it from feeling like such a burden.
1. Blum A. Freestyle Libre Glucose Monitoring System. Clinical Diabetes. 2018; 36(2): 203-204. https://doi.org/10.2337/cd17-0130
2. Diabetes in Control. Analysis: How Patients and HCPs Really Feel About CGMS. Retrieved from How Do Patients with Diabetes and HCPs Really Feel About CGMS? Exclusive Analysis (diabetesincontrol.com)
3. Aungst T. Dexcom G6 vs Freestyle Libre: Which Is the Better Continuous Glucose Monitor? Retrieved from Dexcom G6 vs. FreeStyle Libre: Which Is the Better Continuous Glucose Monitor?- GoodRx