This week in Pedersen's POV, our senior editor turns to Dexcom for help convincing her husband to try continuous glucose monitoring (CGM).

Amanda Pedersen

March 11, 2024

4 Min Read
Graphic featuring MD+DI Senior Editor Amanda Pedersen and a logo designed for her weekly Pedersen's POV opinion column.

Medtech was abuzz last week with the exciting news that Dexcom is bringing an over-the-counter continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) sensor to the market designed specifically for adults who do not use insulin.

Available this summer, Stelo will be the first glucose biosensor in the United States cleared for use without a prescription. It’s a tremendous milestone for diabetes management that has the potential to benefit millions of Americans.

Jake Leach, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Dexcom, told me the company developed Stelo with the unique needs of people living with type 2 diabetes who do not use insulin to manage the disease. There are about 25 million Americans who fall into that category, and my husband is among them.

For at least the past year, my husband’s doctor has been urging him to try CGM, as have I. He refuses to even consider it.

So, I asked Leach last week, after the big Stelo announcement: How can I convince my husband that now is the time to give CGM a try?

The first selling point he offered was the ease of application. Today’s CGM products, including the Dexcom G7 and the new Stelo, are designed with ease of application in mind, Leach said.

“They are a lot simpler than they used to be,” he told me. “I think some of the reservations of the past had to do with the size of the devices, or even the size of the sensor under the skin. Stelo and G7 are based on the same platform. It’s a very small sensor, painless to apply.”

Related:Dexcom's Historic Win for CGM

Beyond that, Leach said people who try the new over-the-counter product will benefit from the educational journey of seeing what glucose numbers look like over time, and then seeing what you can do to improve them.

“For many people with type 2 diabetes, they’ve never seen their continuous glucose data,” he said. “I’ve had a number of people that have worn sensors come to me and say, ‘I didn't realize my glucose changed so much over time throughout the day, and certain meals really had a much greater impact in terms of high glucose than others,’ and you know, without CGM, you can't see any of that.”

CGM unlocks the ability to understand how medication and diet impact a user’s glucose levels, ideally helping them make decisions that ultimately lower their average glucose over time, Leach emphasized.

It’s a good argument for CGM. And yet, my husband remains unswayed.

“If I were insulin dependent, my views on all these things would be completely different,” my husband said. “But I’m perfectly fine medicated, and I don’t need to know how my glucose varies from hour to hour; I can feel how it varies from hour to hour.”

It’s important to understand that my husband isn’t just being stubborn about this (although stubbornness certainly plays a role). He had open heart surgery when he was 2 years old and has spent his entire life under frequent medical surveillance.

“The idea of constant monitoring, to me, is very invasive because of the amount of monitoring I’ve been under since childhood heart surgery until now,” he said. “The number of wires and electrodes I’ve had attached to me – these are not things I enjoy. These are not things I want. It would invade my daily routine of what I’m thinking about, I would constantly be worried about that.”

He even finds the activity monitor feature of his Pokémon Go app is enough to stress him out.

“For me, and for many chronically ill patients, you often feel trapped,” he said. “You often feel not in control of your own body, and asserting as much control as possible is always your stance. I don’t want another alarm system attached to me.”

I thought this part of my husband’s argument was interesting because the people I’ve spoken with who do use a CGM – whether they are insulin dependent or not – find the device gives them more control over their body than before they began using the device. But I’ll stop nagging him about it.

Always the comedian, he also couldn’t resist poking fun at Dexcom’s 2021 Super Bowl ad starring multi-platinum recording artist, actor, and philanthropist Nick Jonas, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 13.

“There are no magic tricks to diabetes, Nick,” my husband quipped, immediately following up the remark with, “I don’t want to be quoted as excessively grumpy.”

Sorry babe, but that grumpy ship has already set sail.

About the Author(s)

Amanda Pedersen

Amanda Pedersen is a veteran journalist and award-winning columnist with a passion for helping medical device professionals connect the dots between the medtech news of the day and the bigger picture. She has been covering the medtech industry since 2006.

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