Ranjan Sinha

February 06, 2024

Understanding Low Sugar Readings with Your CGM

Navigating the world of Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) can be a bit of a learning curve. It's a powerful tool that Digbi Health has embraced to support our users in their health journey. However, encountering low glucose readings can be concerning. Let's demystify some of the reasons behind these readings and what they mean for you.

It's more common than you think

Experiencing glucose levels dipping below 70 mg/dL isn't rare. In fact, a study revealed that 41% of healthy individuals using CGM encountered such lows within a 24-hour period. But why does this happen?

Calibration period

If you've just applied your sensor, give it up to 48 hours to calibrate. Initial readings might show lower glucose levels during this phase. Understanding this can ease concerns about early data.

Nighttime dips

Your body's energy requirements decrease during sleep, especially in REM phases, leading to natural glucose dips. Interestingly, sleeping on the sensor might cause false low readings due to pressure-induced errors.

Post-meal lows

Noticed a drop after eating? This could be a reactive hypoglycemic response, where insulin levels overshoot in response to a high-carb meal, causing a rapid decrease in glucose.

Measurement timing

CGMs measure glucose in the interstitial fluid, which can lag behind actual blood glucose levels by about 15 minutes. This discrepancy is more pronounced when glucose levels are rapidly changing, such as after meals or exercise.

Accuracy and error margins

All glucose monitors, including CGMs, have an error margin. For instance, the FreeStyle Libre CGM reports a mean absolute relative difference (MARD) of around 9.7%. It's important to factor in these margins when interpreting readings.

Sensor location matters

Placement is key. The recommended spot is the back of your arm, between the triceps and shoulder muscle, for consistent readings. Placement over muscle areas can increase the chance of errors.

Despite our best efforts, sensor errors can occur. If your readings seem off consistently, reaching out to support is crucial for troubleshooting and ensuring your CGM is functioning as intended.

CGMs are a window into your body's glucose dynamics, offering insights that can guide your health decisions. By understanding the nuances behind low glucose readings, you can better navigate your health journey with confidence and clarity. For further reading and support, exploring our resources and reaching out to our support team can provide additional guidance.

When to take immediate action

If you experience symptoms such as feeling giddy, sweaty, or any signs of hypoglycaemia, it's important to act quickly. These symptoms can indicate that your glucose levels have dropped significantly and require immediate attention to prevent further health complications.

Quick fixes to elevate glucose levels

Consume Fast-Acting Sugars: At the first sign of such symptoms, consume a small amount of fast-acting sugar. This can be in the form of:

  • A soda or sugary drink
  • Fruit juice
  • Glucose tablets or gels

These quick sources of sugar can help elevate your blood glucose levels swiftly, providing temporary relief from the symptoms.

Seek medical advice

While taking sugar can provide quick relief, it's a temporary solution. If you frequently experience low glucose readings accompanied by symptoms, it's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional. They can help identify the underlying cause and adjust your treatment plan as necessary to maintain stable glucose levels.

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