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Continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) or “sensors” have been around for more than a decade. With the arrival in Canada last week of the Dexcom G5 everything has changed: the G5 is more accurate than its predecessor the G4 allowing for ever more reliable low and high sugar alarms, it sends results straight to your smartphone without requiring a separate receiver, and with a hack that prolongs the life of the sensor to 28 days it costs as little as $6 per day. This device is so good that I now recommend it to every person with Type 1 diabetes in my practice and to many with Type 2 diabetes as well.
For a backgrounder on sensors click here.
The G5 requires a smartphone running the Dexcom mobile app (Android and iPhone), a $270 transmitter that needs to be replaced every 3 months (hard-wired by the manufacturer) and a $85 sensor that the manufacturer recommends replacing every 7 days. To learn how to get up to 28 days from the G5 rather than 7 days see this hack. The cost of using the Dexcom G5 system with a sensor lasting 7 days is $15/day; with a sensor lasting 28 days it is $6/day.
Note: twice daily blood glucose testing is required to calibrate the sensor.
You can order the Dexcom G5 online here. For an example of the minimal possible Dexcom Canada service contract (a sensor every 2 weeks) click here. Some extended medical insurers are now covering the cost of sensors. Chances of coverage are higher with this certificate of medical necessity completed and signed by your diabetes specialist. As of the date of writing (2017-Feb-14) sensors are not a benefit under BC Pharmacare.