Twelve years ago, I was entering my junior year at Hope College. I was excited to be transferring to a new college, but even more so to be trying out my very first Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM). It was made by Medtronic and the transmitter was quite large, so you had to use a lot of tape to keep it close to your skin, the insertion was quite painful, often causing blood to surface, the numbers weren’t that accurate, and you had to keep the sensors in the refrigerator. But even with all the drawbacks, I desperately wanted my quality of life as a college junior to improve and the CGM held the promise of that.
A handful of years after that experience I transferred to the Dexcom. I absolutely loved it! The numbers on the CGM were so much more accurate to my blood glucose meter readings. Last week I received the brand-new G6 kit in the mail so I could review it for OnTrack Diabetes. (It’s being officially released to consumers sometime in June). My younger brother (also a T1D) and I did a Facebook live about the insertion process and the differences between the G5 (what he uses) and the G6.
Here is my review of the new Dexcom G6:
Inserter – I’s larger and bulkier than the G5, and you’ll see in my FB Live that I was confused about how to break the safety piece off. But once I got that down, you click one button and it’s literally PAINLESS. This is a huge one for me! I thought the G5 was painful, depending on where I inserted it, so it would sometimes take me 5-10 minutes to insert.
Transmitter – Though it’s a little longer than the G5, it’s sleeker in design. It wouldn’t seem like a big difference but for example, I like to sleep on my side, and my favorite spot is my arms. Since it has a lower profile, I’ve noticed that I can sleep more comfortably at night.
No Calibrations – This is the nicest thing about the G6! I thought maybe I’d have to do the two-blood sugar test after the initial two-hour warm up, but I didn’t have to. It warmed up and then had my blood sugar on the receiver. After having type 1 diabetes for 19 years it was tough for me to trust this brand-new device completely, so I did test my blood sugar about once a day to make sure it was accurate.
I noticed that the sensor became more accurate after a couple of days. I never had a reading that was more than 30 points off though, and after the first two days of the sensor, it was always within six points. Say goodbye to finger sticks! I can hear my poor, calloused fingers celebrating already!
Receiver – If you were upgraded to the new receiver this past year while on the G5, then it won’t be much different for you. It’s certainly an upgrade over the last version. It’s touchscreen, and nice and small to carry. To be honest, though I never use the receiver since I have an iPhone X and Apple watch, I prefer to use the G6 Mobile App for convenience (and one less thing to carry around!).
G6 Mobile App – So for me personally, this is what I use opposed to the receiver. The newest app is much of the same except there was one new feature that I really like. There is a feature that not only notifies you when you’re low but tells you that you’re going to drop to 55 mg/dL within 20 minutes which I think is very helpful!
Overall, I think the G6 is a great upgrade from the G5! The biggest change for me is the vacation that my poor little fingers can take after 19 years of being poked 6-10 times a day! I was a bit pessimistic about how accurate the G6 really could be with no calibrations but was pleasantly surprised after checking a couple times.
I also think the smaller design, though a small difference, really was more comfortable to wear. Lastly, the new insertion device. I’m not sure what they did to make it so much less painful but it totally worked! I think this will be especially nice for people who maybe were opposed to wearing it because of how painful the insertion process was previously.
I know it can seem like living with type 1 diabetes every minute of every day is exhausting and never-ending, but with new technology like the G6 it really helps to alleviate the stress and anxiety of living with this chronic illness. I’ll be interested to hear from all you about what your thoughts are on the new Dexcom G6!