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Tips on how to Interpret Your CGM Data


Editor’s note: This guide is supposed as a suggestion, not medical advice. CGM data must be reviewed with a provider before making any changes to medications.

Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) are small, externally worn devices that quite a lot of individuals with type 2 diabetes (T2D) are opting to make use of as a substitute of manually testing their blood sugar levels with a blood glucose meter (BGM)

CGM technology saves lives and has been shown to lower A1C, reduce each high and low blood sugar levels and improve time-in-range (TIR). They assist prevent potentially life-threatening short- and long-term diabetes complications, prevent hospitalizations and improve the standard of life for individuals with diabetes.

Having this life-saving technology is great, but it is advisable know what all the info means to enhance your blood sugar levels and quality of life. Use this guide to learn the way!

Trend arrows

Trend arrows are an important tool as they assist indicate not only what your blood sugar is, but where (and the speed at which) it’s headed.

Straight arrow

A straight across arrow implies that your blood sugar levels are regular or changing slowly. They should not rising or falling, so whatever you’re doing is keeping your levels regular! Great job! 

Up arrow

Any up arrows indicate that chances are you’ll must either take medication, drink water or typically do some form of physical activity to assist regular blood sugar levels and begin to bring them down. 

  • An arrow up and to the best indicates that blood sugar levels are slowly rising
  • A straight up arrow indicates that blood sugar levels are quickly rising

Some CGMs may show a double straight up arrow to point quickly rising blood sugar levels. 

Down arrow

A down arrow is something to maintain your eye on to be sure your blood sugar level doesn’t drop an excessive amount of or too quickly. 

  • An arrow pointed down and to the best indicates that your blood sugar levels are slowly falling
  • A straight down arrow indicates that blood sugar levels are dropping quickly A double arrow down indicates that blood sugar levels are dropping quickly, at a rate of greater than 3 mg/dL per minute or greater than 90 mg/dL inside half-hour. 

Some CGMs may show a double straight down arrow to point quickly rising blood sugar levels. Rapidly falling blood sugar levels may be extremely dangerous should you don’t treat it with glucose or fast-acting sugar quickly, especially in case your number shouldn’t be exceedingly high. 

If there isn’t any arrow, it implies that the system cannot calculate the rate or direction of the blood sugar level change. 


Patterns are something that the CGM system can detect by itself! Image of cell phone showing daily patterns graph on FreeStyle Libre app

For instance, the Freestyle LibreLink App can make it easier to robotically track each day and weekly patterns by generating pattern reports to assist fine-tune your diabetes management much more. 

This each day patterns graph shows the variability of blood sugar levels over multiple hours and days. The thick black line shows the midpoint of your glucose readings. 

Learning what your patterns are can make it easier to modify foods, medications, and exercise to assist prevent high and low blood sugar levels before they even occur! 

In this instance graph, it looks like there’s a pattern of blood sugar levels rising daily after 9am. Interpreting this graph would make it easier to resolve in case your breakfast or morning medications might should be adjusted.

The Freestyle Libre CGM measures blood sugar levels every minute—1,440 readings per day! Every day Patterns needs no less than 5 days of information but when there may be a pattern, the system will make sure you catch it. 

Time in range 

Time in range (TIR) is some of the powerful metrics for contemporary diabetes management, as A1C levels may give a false sense of success and might hide quite a lot of each high and low blood sugar levels.

TIR is a way of measuring the share of time in a given day an individual is staying inside a beneficial blood sugar goal range. The usual range is between 3.885 mmol/l709.99 mmol/l180 mg/dL but your goal range should all the time be individualized between you and your doctor.

Phone showing time in range report with the FreeStyle Libre app. Below range is shown in orange/yellow bar, in range is green bar, and above range is shown by a red bar.

The Freestyle LibreLink App tracks this as time in goal (shown in image) and generates each day and weekly reports to see how much time your blood sugar levels have been inside your goal range.

Many experts recommend aiming for a TIR of no less than 50%, with low blood sugars occurring lower than 5% of the day. 

Some easy ways to assist improve your TIR include:

  • Staying hydrated with water
  • Eating regular meals 
  • Getting each day movement/exercise
  • Getting between seven to nine hours of sleep per night 
  • Bolusing before meals (should you’re on insulin) 
  • Managing stress with respiration exercises, meditation, journaling, and yoga 

Discussing data together with your doctor 

It’s all the time vital to go over your CGM data together with your doctor, especially if you’ve got questions. Before you make substantial changes to your therapy or diabetes management tactics, reviewing your CGM data may be helpful to know exactly where changes could also be needed. 

It’s important to not over-analyze CGM data before speaking together with your doctor, especially should you see blood sugar level spikes after you eat or drop after exercise. Checking your CGM data an excessive amount of can contribute to anxiety and diabetes burnout. Remember all of the numbers and data you see don’t define your price!

CGM technology isn’t a cure-all 

CGM technology is usually a critical addition to your diabetes tool belt, but know that it won’t solve your whole diabetes woes. 

Habits like each day movement, eating nutritionally-balanced meals, getting enough sleep, adjusting your medications as needed and managing stress are also crucial components of living a healthy life with T2D. 

CGM technology and interpreting the info appropriately can empower you to make higher management decisions along the best way.

Editor’s Note: Educational content for newly diagnosed individuals with diabetes is made possible with support from Abbott, makers of the Freestyle Libre 3 system, a founding partner of Beyond Type 2. Editorial control rests solely with Beyond Type 2.

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