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Home » Diabetes » Freestyle Libre Pros and Cons, Here’s What You Need to Know!
Freestyle Libre is a continuous glucose monitor that’s drawn some attention in recent times.
From being reasonable in terms of pricing to several other convenient features, Freestyle Libre is the talk within the diabetes market. As such, below is a detailed list of the freestyle libre pros and cons, which could help you make an informed decision according to your own preferences and the guidance of your doctor.
So, here’s the quick takeaway list for you, then we’ll go through each point in a bit more detail.
Freestyle Libre Pros and Cons
So, that’s the quick list, but perhaps you shouldn’t take this on face value! With that said, let’s get into some of the essential details on each point.
Freestyle Libre is factory calibrated. This means the need for manually calibrating the sensor is not necessary. It also means that users don’t have to go through painful fingerpicks.
Most importantly, factory calibration helps to eliminate the errors that come with manual calibration, which can cause other reading errors in the sensor.
When comparing the cost of Freestyle Libre against other CGMs on the market, it is among the most affordable. Therefore, many view this CGM as an investment since it is a great advantage for diabetes patients, as it eliminates the need for fingerpicks.
After applying the Freestyle Libre, it only takes one hour for the warm-up to take place. The warm-up is the period it takes for the device to adjust to your body before it starts sending blood sugar readings. This warm-up period is shorter, or perhaps the shortest, when compared to many other CGM’s, which can take a few hours.
Freestyle Libre has a glucometer built right into the reader of the device, and it also has a low-profile transmitter. The built-in glucometer allows one to conveniently manually check their blood sugar with a fingerprint if they are unsure about the accuracy of the CGM reading. The readings can also be sent to the app on your smartphone, which also allows for more efficiency. The sensor also lasts up to 14 days, which is longer than any other CGM on the market.
Unlike many others, freestyle Libre is updated every 60 seconds, which is almost like “real-time.” Alongside this, the data is recorded to the memory every 15 minutes, giving a record of glucose levels for better diabetes management.
On the other hand, even if data is not read, the sensor can still keep any unread data for up to 8 hours.
This is a great feature where the users can set an alarm, event, or reminder to inform them every 8 hours. This can be set to read the unread data, before the 8 hour storage period is over. Apart from this, notes can also be entered just in case you need to refer to it for comparison purposes.
Freestyle Libre is Medicare-approved. So, any risks or doubts about using this device – just because they seem to be a reasonable price option – is eliminated.
This is one of the foremost benefits among the pros and cons of the Freestyle Libre. Fingerpicks are replaced by scans, which means that you can have better diabetes management with less pain and soreness from all those daily fingerpicks.
The Freestyle Libre comes with a simple, disposable applicator that you can use with just one hand. It is approved to be worn on the back of the upper arm. After the device is applied, a small filament is placed just underneath the skin and is held in place with an adhesive. The low-profile design allows the device to be worn without much tugging or pulling, and it is unlikely that the sensor will get caught on any clothing or other objects.
Ok now for the potential downsides in our list of Freestyle Libre Pros and Cons.
Many users of freestyle Libre say that the device may not always be accurate. Many believe the reason for these inaccuracies is because Freestyle Libre does not measure the glucose in the blood but the interstitial fluid.
So, as glucose is released into the blood, its only blood testing devices that will give more accurate results than devices like Freestyle Libre that tests the interstitial fluid. Thus, many still rely on fingerpicks when they want to have more accurate results.
Manual calibration is also not available (As freestyle Libre is factory calibrated) to improve accuracy. Generally, the farther outside the glucose target range, the greater the chances are of inaccurate readings.
The freestyle Libre doesn’t warn users about high or low blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia). However, there is a new version of the Freestyle Libre coming out that will have alarms available to notify patients of high or low blood sugar levels.
Freestyle Libre measures glucose in the interstitial fluid. This results in the device giving around 15 minutes of delay in its readings when compared to a fingerpick test.
This also means that if your blood sugar level is dropping or rising too quickly, you might not be aware of that short period of time.
Many commercial insurance companies may only cover the Freestyle Libre for insulin-dependent patients. This is because those that are on insulin therapy typically have to check their blood sugar levels more often. However, if your doctor provides you with a letter of medical necessity or prior authorization, then you may be able to get your insurance to cover the majority of the cost.
Freestyle Libre is said to interact with vitamin C and Aspirin. Alongside this, they also tend to interfere with test results of MRIs and CT scans. On the other hand, some people have reported developing allergies and rashes because of the adhesive that is used for sticking the device into the arm. This is something to be aware of and monitor when first trying the Freestyle Libre.
Users will have to carry the reader and the scan sensor to get the necessary data. The reader requires up to a 3-hour charge every 7 days, and it doesn’t have any sharing features. You can download the Freestyle Libre app, which can also act as the reader, though.
Apart from these, the freestyle Libre software uploading can be confusing, and reports produced may not be interactive. Besides, even though Freestyle Libre can be set with reminders, events, and notes, the events must be entered at the time of the event, as it’s not possible to back-enter them.
We hope that this has given you a better understanding of the pros and cons of the Freestyle Libre, so that you can decide if it is right for you.
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