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Five-Day Glucose Sensor Test (For Diabetes)

What is a five-day glucose sensor test?
Why would a doctor recommend a five-day glucose sensor test?
What does a five-day glucose sensor test involve?
How long is the recovery after a five-day glucose sensor test?

What is a five-day glucose sensor test?

A five-day glucose sensor test uses a small sensor and an electronic recorder to monitor a diabetes patient's blood sugar (glucose) levels. The test allows a doctor to find patterns in a patient's blood sugar levels, and discover ways to prevent episodes of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Why would a doctor recommend a five-day glucose sensor test?

People with diabetes must regularly measure their blood sugar levels. A patient typically obtains a drop of blood from a fingertip, and feeds a special strip into a handheld meter, to measure his or her blood sugar level. By doing this, a person with diabetes will soon be able to predict which foods raise or lower those levels.

A five-day glucose sensor test can show blood sugar trends over an extended time. A special sensor painlessly measures blood sugar levels every five minutes, and sends the data to an electronic recorder worn on the belt. This allows a doctor to fine-tune a patient's insulin type or dosage, and make changes to a patient's diet.

A doctor most often recommends a five-day glucose sensor test if he or she suspects that a patient has episodes of dangerously low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia). The test can measure blood sugar levels at night, when a patient is unable to do manual tests.

What does a five-day glucose sensor test involve?

Your doctor will insert the tiny sensor just under the skin of your abdomen. This is done quickly, and causes little pain. The wire from the sensor is then attached to a small electronic recorder, which you will wear on your belt or keep in a pocket during the five days of the test. After about an hour, you will take a standard blood sugar test – using the fingertip method – and the medical team will help you enter the data into the recorder. This helps calibrate the device.

During the five days of the test, you will take normal "fingertip" blood sugar readings four times a day, and also record insulin injection times, meals, and exercise. This data will later be compared with the data your electronic recorder produces.

After the five days of the test, your doctor will remove the sensor, and download the information from the electronic recorder onto a computer. He or she will then discuss with you the findings of the test.

How long is the recovery after a five-day glucose sensor test?

During the test, you will go about your normal daily activities. You will not be able to go swimming or take a bath during the test. Before taking a shower, you must put the monitor in a special plastic shower pack.

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