CGMS is short for continuous glucose monitoring system. If you want to know all the time what your blood glucose level is, wearing one of these devices is the only way to go.
But few people with type 2 diabetes ever use one. This might change now that a diabetologist lets all of his patients use them.
Simply wearing a CGMS improves their blood glucose level as much as taking most diabetes medications. It changes our behavior when we know what the food we eat and the exercise we get does to our level.
This is a breakthrough in diabetes control. I learned about it from the diabetologist who uses it in his practice. And I met him because of networking.
For the past three days I have been participating in Medicine 2.0, which the organizers describe as a conference on "social media in medicine and next generation medicine."
In many respects this was the best of many professional conferences that I attended and wrote about here. The presentations were outstanding. On the other hand, most presentations at conferences are frankly a waste of time, and what I get out of those meetings is mostly the networking outside of the meeting rooms.
Medicine 2.0 was different. It excelled in both the presentations and the networking, the latter in good part because I had the opportunity to meet and talk outside the main meeting room with this diabetologist. Daniel Crowe, M.D., CDE, practices in the Southboro Medical Group near Boston.
He loans his patients a CGMS for about a week at a time. He told me that this alone changes their behavior from being 90 percent out of range to 60 percent in range. On the average just doing this reduces their A1C by 1 percent for a year.
Dr. Crowe also recommends no carbs except for those in fruit (and no fruit juice) and vegetables. That alone endeared me to him. But he lets his patients discover that for themselves. It is wearing the CGMS that changes the behavior of his patients for the better.
Many people with type 1 diabetes nowadays wear a CGMS. Many more of us who have type 2 diabetes can benefit from doing so. Nothing changes behavior as much as knowing what we are doing.
David Mendosa is a journalist who learned in 1994 that he has type 2 diabetes, which he now writes about exclusively. He has written thousands of diabetes articles, two books about it, created one of the first diabetes websites, and publishes the monthly newsletter, “Diabetes Update.” His very low-carbohydrate diet, current A1C level of 5.3, and BMI of 19.8 keep his diabetes in remission without any drugs. He can be found on Twitter @davidmendosa and on Facebook at David Mendosa.