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No More Finger Pricks! How Continuous Glucose Monitoring Differs From Using A Glucometer

Medically reviewed by Janie-Vi Villamor Ismael-Gorospe, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Oct 04, 2022

No More Finger Pricks! How Continuous Glucose Monitoring Differs From Using A Glucometer

If you have diabetes, you know about the importance of monitoring your sugar levels. In the Philippines, the most common way to do capillary blood glucose monitoring or CBG monitoring is through a glucometer, a pocket-size device that can detect your blood glucose level with a drop of your blood on a test strip. But, this method can be inconvenient (and injurious) to people who need frequent checking. That’s why some consider CGM or continuous glucose monitoring. What’s the difference between the two? 

What is CBG Monitoring?

When we talk about diabetes, CBG means capillary blood glucose. Basically, it is the level of glucose circulating in the blood. You can measure this with a self-monitoring device consisting of a glucometer, lancet, and a test strip. For convenience, you may also use a lancing device that can house the lancet and eliminate manual pricking. 

Essentially, CBG monitoring happens when you check your capillary blood sugar levels regularly, as per your doctor’s instructions. 

However, if you search “CBG monitoring” online, you may notice that the term “CGM” or continuous glucose monitoring also comes up. What’s the difference between these two methods?

What is CGM?

If CBG monitoring uses the traditional glucometer, what of CGM?

CGM or continuous glucose monitoring is a method of automatically checking blood sugar throughout the day and night. It not only records the reading, but also identifies the trend by which the blood glucose changes. 

Instead of a glucometer, CGM uses a sensor with a transmitter inserted under the skin (usually the back of the arm). As the sensor checks the glucose levels, the transmitter sends the results to the monitor. Some brands only require an app, which you can use to scan the sensor whenever you wish to check your sugar levels. 

CBG Monitoring and CGM: What Are Their Differences?

To help you decide whether to go for CBG monitoring or CGM, here are the main differences to take into account:

1. CGM detects the glucose in the interstitial fluid

While CBG detects sugar in the blood, CGM detects glucose in the interstitial fluid (ISF) or the fluid between the cells. There are reports that say that glucose measurement from the ISF is more appropriate for therapeutic decisions. 

2. CGM eliminates the need for finger pricks

Another important thing to consider is the need for finger pricks. CBG monitoring requires pricking every single time you need to check your blood sugar. CGM, on the other hand, offers painless sensor application (depending on brand). The sensor can last for up to 14 days. 

3. CBG monitoring is still “manual monitoring”

By all accounts, using a glucometer still constitutes manual monitoring because you need to record the results in a notebook or app. On the other hand, CGM can give you measurement any time, record it automatically, and give you insights on the trend. 

4. CGM offers an alarm system

It’s a must for diabetic patients to identify the signs of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia. But, a little help will also be welcome. 

Some brands of CGM offer an alarm system that lets you know when your sugar level becomes too high or too low

5. CGM is more expensive than CBG

Finally, you may want to take note of the costs. CGM may be convenient, but it appears to be significantly more expensive than CBG. Not to mention, it’s still not widely available in the country. 

In 2020, Abbott brought the Freestyle Libre System of CGM to the Philippines. But they have not disclosed the costs. Multiple reports, however, indicate that it’s far more expensive than buying test strips and lancets. 

Final Reminders

Are you interested in forgoing CBG monitoring to switch to CGM? Please seek the advice of your doctor. You may find online shops selling CGM sensors, but please proceed with caution. Contact a healthcare professional so they can steer you in the right direction when it comes to obtaining CGM.

Learn more about Diabetes here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Janie-Vi Villamor Ismael-Gorospe, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Oct 04, 2022

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