Understanding the FreeStyle Libre Sensor - A Complete Guide

 FreeStyle Libre Sensor Patches

What is the FreeStyle Libre?

FreeStyle Libre is a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system developed by Abbott, a company renowned for various diabetes-related products and medical devices. This CGM system consists of a small sensor placed on the back of the upper arm to monitor glucose levels continuously throughout the day and night. The sensor measures glucose in the interstitial fluid under the skin, providing real-time data without requiring routine fingerstick tests.

This CGM system is designed to replace traditional blood glucose testing, excelling in detecting trends and tracking patterns.

How to Use & Apply the FreeStyle Libre Sensor

Using the this system involves the following steps:

  • Applying the Sensor
  • Protect the Sensor
  • Activating the Sensor
  • Scanning the Sensor
  • Interpreting Readings
  • Data Storage and Review
  • Sensor Replacement

How does the FreeStyle Libre System Work?

How does the FreeStyle Libre Sensor works

The sensor uses a thin, flexible filament delicately inserted just beneath the skin, enabling continuous measurement of glucose levels for 8 hours & can wear up to 14 days. With dimensions of approximately 5 mm in height and 35 mm in diameter, this sensor provides continuous real-time glucose readings every 1 minute and stores data at 15-minute intervals. Its discreet design allows it to read through clothing, offering a convenient testing experience.

During each scanning session, the FreeStyle Libre delivers three crucial pieces of information for individuals managing diabetes: immediate glucose levels, an 8-hour historical trend, and a trend arrow indicating the direction of glucose changes. The touch-screen reader has a storage capacity of up to 90 days, enabling users to track and analyse their glucose levels over an extended period.

Globally, over 400,000 individuals benefit from the FreeStyle Libre system, which has been substantiated for its accuracy, stability, and consistency through rigorous clinical studies.

Pros and Cons of the FreeStyle Libre

Pros of FreeStyle Libre:

  • Continuous monitoring for up to 14 days
  • Convenient and discreet design
  • Extended data storage for up to 90 days
  • Informative scans with current levels and trends
  • Widely used globally with clinical validation
  • No blood sample required
  • Doesn’t require a finger stick

Cons of FreeStyle Libre:

  • Limited wear time compared to some competitors
  • Potential cost considerations
  • Possible skin irritation
  • Limited interoperability with other devices

Is it possible to use the FreeStyle Libre Sensor with a smartphone app?

Abbott offers the FreeStyle LibreLink app, which allows users to scan their FreeStyle Libre Sensor using their smartphone. The app directly provides real-time glucose readings and trends on the smartphone, eliminating the need for a separate reader device.

Users can download the FreeStyle LibreLink app on compatible smartphones, pair it with the FreeStyle Libre Sensor, and scan the sensor to access glucose data. This feature enhances convenience for individuals managing diabetes, as they can monitor their glucose levels discreetly and on the go using their smartphones.

How does the FreeStyle Libre sensor transmit data to the reader or mobile device

NFC, or Near Field Communication, is the wireless technology that allows your FreeStyle Libre sensors to send data wirelessly to another compatible device, such as a smartphone or dedicated receiver.

If you're using an Android phone, Make sure your Android phone has NFC capabilities, and ensure that NFC is turned on. Most of the newer Android phones have NFC support.

If you're using an iPhone, make sure it's iPhone 7 or newer and has iOS 11 or a later version. This is necessary to use the NFC capability to scan the FreeStyle Libre sensor.

Difference between the FreeStyle Libre sensor and traditional glucose monitoring methods

FreeStyle Libre, gives you real-time information about your glucose level throughout the day and night. The reader displays not only the current glucose level but also a historical trend, this system empowers individuals with type 1 & 2 diabetes to make informed decisions about their diet, insulin doses, and overall lifestyle. This integration of technology not only streamlines the monitoring process but also enhances the overall quality of life for those managing diabetes.

This contrasts with traditional methods that involve intermittent finger stick tests using a glucose meter. The sensor's continuous monitoring and trend analysis offers a more comprehensive view of glucose levels, enhancing convenience and potentially reducing overall monitoring costs compared to traditional approaches.

Comparison of Glucose Monitors



Sensor Replacement Interval

FreeStyle Libre

Non-finger-stick CGM

14 days


Non-finger-stick CGM

10 days


Non-finger-stick CGM

90 days

Guardian Connect System

Non-finger-stick CGM

7 days

Rite Aid TrueMetrix Meter

Finger-stick glucose meter


Walgreens TrueMetrix Bluetooth Meter

Finger-stick glucose meter



How does the FreeStyle Libre System Help You

The Freestyle Libre system generates data to reveal helpful trends and patterns, assisting people in making informed decisions about their health. This may involve adjustments to their diet or insulin dosage. According to Abbott, individuals with Type 1 diabetes using FreeStyle Libre spent 38 percent less time experiencing low blood sugar, while those with Type 2 diabetes spent 43 percent less time compared to those using traditional glucose monitoring systems.

Continuous glucose tracking by this system enables people and their healthcare providers to adapt lifestyles, diets, and treatments effectively. For instance, the data can indicate whether someone is experiencing low or high glucose levels, aiding in choosing the right diabetes management approach.

Components of the FreeStyle Libre System

Beyond its simplicity, the FreeStyle Libre system offers users the freedom to monitor glucose levels discreetly and without the hassle of routine finger stick tests. The Sensor works continuously, providing real-time glucose concentration in the interstitial fluid. 

This innovative technology not only enhances convenience but also empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their health more seamlessly. For more information about the indications and safety details of the FreeStyle Libre, ensuring a secure and effective experience, dive deeper into the guidelines that accompany this cutting-edge system.


Manufactured by Abbott, the well known and widely used FreeStyle Libre system allows careful monitoring of Blood Glucose levels through NFC scanning of their Flash Glucose Monitoring sensor. The FreeStyle Libre system is one of the more affordable glucose monitoring options available, resulting in widespread use across the globe. 

This sensor is designed to last 14 days before needing to be replaced. One of the most common problems experienced by its users is prematurely knocking the sensor off of the body before it needs to be replaced. This can become a costly occurrence as the price per sensor is around $100 AUD. 

We know this problem all too well at Type Strong, which is why we developed a specially designed FreeStyle Libre adhesive patch that keeps your sensor secure for its full lifetime. Try our patches today to ensure that you never lose another sensor.

Frequently Asked Questions about FreeStyle Libre Sensor

How much does FreeStyle Libre cost?

The reader device may cost around $95 to $100 AUD, and replacement sensors can range from $15 to $100 AUD each, depending on your insurance coverage and where you purchase them. Remember that these prices are approximate, and actual costs may vary.

How often does the FreeStyle Libre take readings?

FreeStyle Libre system provides continuous glucose monitoring, offering readings at a minimum frequency of every minute. This means that the system measures glucose levels and updates the readings at least once per minute throughout the entire wear period of the sensor, which is typically up to 14 days. 

How can a FreeStyle Libre CGM be helpful in diabetes management?

These devices offer a proactive approach to diabetes management by providing real-time information about blood sugar levels. Unlike traditional methods that involve periodic testing, CGMs provide continuous monitoring, allowing users to detect trends and make timely adjustments to their lifestyle or medication. This advancement in technology has not only increased the precision of monitoring but has also contributed to better control and understanding of diabetes, promoting a more proactive and informed approach to overall health.

Disclaimer: The information presented on this blog is provided for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Reliance on any information provided by this blog is at your own risk, and we strongly recommend consulting with a qualified healthcare professional for individualised advice regarding your specific situation.

In addition, this blog may contain links to external sites or feature content from third parties. Please be aware that we do not undertake investigations or monitoring of these external links for accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability, or completeness. Consequently, we disclaim any liability or responsibility for the information contained therein. Users are encouraged to exercise their own judgement and discretion when accessing external content linked from this blog.

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