Freestyle Libre Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making

Freestyle Libre Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making

Using the Freestyle Libre Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) system can greatly enhance diabetes management. Still, several common mistakes may compromise its effectiveness. In this article, we'll explore these mistakes and provide simple solutions to help you maximise the benefits of your Freestyle Libre.

Did you know that the tiny holes may be the cause of your sensor falling off? Or did you know taking over-the-counter supplements could be causing you to miss a severe low glucose warning? We're going over some common misconceptions and mistakes that Freestyle Libre users often make. 

And more importantly, how to avoid these dangerous pitfalls. That allows you to benefit fully from your Freestyle Libre CGM. We'll share with you one of the common mistakes made by Freestyle Libre users with potentially the most serious consequences.

Let's start with the first mistake users often make.

1. Ignoring Additional Metrics

One that can really limit the potential of the Libre. It is by doing exactly what you're supposed to do, and that's looking at your glucose level on the main screen.

How is this an issue? Isn't that what you're supposed to be doing? Well, yes. This only becomes an issue when you only view your glucose data on this one screen and ignore all the other data that is available on the Libre.

By only reviewing your glucose data on the main screen, you put blinders on the full picture. Whether you're using the app on your phone or the reader itself, you can access your daily patterns, time ranges, and average glucose levels for different times of the day. 

Many users focus solely on the main glucose screen, limiting their understanding of overall trends. By exploring daily patterns, time in ranges, and average glucose levels, you gain valuable insights into hidden trends and potential problem areas, leading to better-informed decisions.

By analysing these additional metrics, you'll uncover hidden trends and problem areas that you didn't notice before.

2. Sensor Replacement

What do you do when you have a sensor that falls off or a sensor fails? 

You are going to contact Abbott. Once you do, you sit on hold for a while and answer the same questions over and over. You get frustrated, and you lose precious time that could be spent doing something else. 

But what if we told you there's a much easier way to handle this? Abbott provides an online form that takes just a few minutes to complete. There's no need for you to speak to anyone. Simply answer a few online questions, submit the form, and once done, the sensor will be sent out to your address.

Dealing with sensor issues can be stressful. This saves time and minimises frustration, ensuring a quick resolution without the need for a phone call.

Nice and simple. Very little stress is involved.

3. Misinterpreting Glucose Readings

What about a potentially harmful misconception many users have that could cause a lack of trust and frustration with your Freestyle Libre?

The first instinct many Freestyle Libre users have when they get their brand new Libre from the pharmacy is to run home, do a finger stick and find out just how accurate this new gadget is. And this can lead to frustration and lack of trust when the numbers don’t match up.

The readings you get from your Freestyle Libre are not a measurement of your blood glucose levels. The glucose level you receive on your Libre CGM is a measurement of the glucose level in your interstitial fluid. And since the Libre is measuring glucose in your interstitial fluid, it takes time for glucose to move from your blood vessels into your interstitial fluid.

Libre readings will have a slight delay compared to finger stick readings. This delay or lag time is one of the main reasons for the discrepancy you see between finger sticks and your Libre.

The Libre does have a tool to help with this, though. And that tool is the arrow you’ll see next to your glucose levels. These arrows let you know where your glucose is heading and how fast it’s going to get there. Allowing you to anticipate changes in your glucose levels before they take place.

Some users may doubt the accuracy of the Freestyle Libre by comparing it to traditional finger stick readings. It's crucial to understand that the CGM measures glucose in interstitial fluid, introducing a slight delay. Use the directional arrows next to the readings to anticipate changes and enhance your proactive management.

4. Correct Sensor Placement

We all know the Libre is supposed to be placed on the back of the arm. Many users have found success putting it in different areas of the body.

If you are placing it on the arm as it’s intended, make sure it’s on the back of the arm.

Why is this so important? Can’t you just put the Libre in the front of the arm or side of the arm? What‘s the difference?

Outside the usual info that we already know, Abbott has done studies in this location, proving its accuracy. Other sites of the arm have more muscle mass, which can lead to bent filaments, more painful insertion, and possible failed sensors.

Most importantly, all other areas of the arm are completely exposed. This leads to more sensors catching door handles or sides of walls, causing your sensor to fall off. So, keep your sensor tucked in the back of the arm to keep it properly functioning and prevent it from getting caught on those pesky door handles.

5. Sharing Glucose Data

The next mistake can be an easy one to make. Many people with diabetes feel that diabetes is a journey that we must travel alone, but that doesn’t have to be the case.

Freestyle Libre makes it extremely easy to share your glucose levels with your family and medical team. This is something that everyone should be doing.

Sharing your glucose levels using the Libre link app allows you to have an additional set of eyes to look out for any danger with your glucose levels. It’s very simple to do.

6. Additional Adhesive

Before we get to mistake number 9, we will quickly talk about the missing piece in your Freestyle Libre kit.

There’s a crucial item that you should consider if you’re using a Freestyle Libre and expecting it to stay on for the full 14 days. You’re making a fairly common mistake many Freestyle Libre users make when they realise that the adhesive on the Freestyle Libre isn’t always enough to keep it from falling off.

Type Strong has a range of medical-grade hypoallergenic adhesive patches that you can use to protect your sensor and prevent it from falling off.

7. Be Cautious with Vitamin C

The next mistake is important to be aware of, something you might be doing without realising it. Making this specific error not only leads to completely inaccurate readings but could also potentially cause you to miss a severe low glucose warning.

What is this common mistake?

Well, it’s simply taking a Vitamin C supplement.

That’s right. Taking Vitamin C, also known as Ascorbic acid, can cause false elevation in your sensor glucose readings and could potentially cause you to miss a severe low glucose event.

How much Vitamin C is an issue in Freestyle Libre? 

Taking more than 500mg of ascorbic acid per day could affect the sensor readings. Just as a point of reference, popular supplements have 1000mg per serving, and most over-the-counter vitamin C supplements have a minimum of 500mg per serving.

8. Watch Out for Salicylic Acid

Another over-the-counter medication to be aware of that can cause issues with your Freestyle Libre is salicylic acid, as it may cause slightly lower sensor glucose readings.

Be aware of the impact of medications on your Freestyle Libre readings to maintain accurate glucose monitoring.

Wrapping Up

By avoiding these common mistakes and implementing these simple solutions, you can enhance the accuracy and longevity of your Freestyle Libre CGM system, leading to better diabetes management.

To further improve your Freestyle Libre experience, consider using Type Strong's medical-grade hypoallergenic adhesive patches. These patches can provide additional support in securing your sensor, ensuring it stays in place throughout its intended use. Take proactive steps to enhance your diabetes management journey with the right tools and knowledge.

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