FreeStyle Libre Cheat Sheet

When I first began using the FreeStyle Libre back in May, it was a big change from finger sticks. The continuous nature of the data was strange and at times overwhelming. The device felt like a life saver at times, and extremely frustrating at others. By the time each sensor I used reached the end of its life, I felt well and truly ready for a break. Finger sticks were often a refreshing reprieve from the pesky trend arrows, vibrations and temptation to scan so frequently using my Libre.

It’s fair to say that the Libre has been an adjustment for me. Despite my obvious enthusiasm for the product, it’s something that I’ve slowly eased into using. I’m currently onto my third sensor that I have purchased since trialling the system in May. With time, I am starting to feel more comfortable using it and understanding how it works for me and my diabetes.

For instance, I definitely find that the Libre pronounces movements in my glucose levels after eating. After some experimenting, I’ve concluded that the Libre typically clocks in 2-3mmol higher than my meter 1-2 hours after a meal. It does eventually catch back up again by the time my mealtime insulin has worn off. It’s not a big deal, I just need to remind myself not to panic if I see a reading of 10 after a perfectly carb counted and pre bolused meal.

A change in environment can also cause the Libre results to momentarily jump. For example, getting up off the couch or stepping outside can produce a completely different result within moments of the last one. The jump is only momentary, and within a minute or so it’s usually back to where it was before. Showers tend to produce the wildest changes, so I tend to wait at least five minutes for the results to be reliable once again.

The trend arrows are the biggest advantage in being able to catch oncoming hypos with the Libre. This is a lifesaver at work when I’m physically active and more prone to going low. Looking at the trend arrow on a reading of 6 will tell me whether my levels are 6mmol and steady, or 6mmol and dropping rapidly. With a meter, this really was my best guess.

The biggest hurdle I have had to overcome is not to be too reactive to results after eating. Understanding how the Libre works on me has definitely improved my experience with it, and I feel far more comfortable using it today. When my sensor died last week, I decided to go straight into another for the first time since I started using it.

At the moment, I feel more comfortable with the added level of convenience and insight into glucose levels. I’m fortunate that I am in a position to be able to purchase the sensors.

Will I continue to use it? Time will tell…

2 thoughts on “FreeStyle Libre Cheat Sheet

  1. I put on a new disc last night. Yet again it was a bit up down all over the place like last change. I am on my 5th sensor disc so I now know it take some time for the disc to start reading correctly. I woke up this morning…disc said 4.1…finger prick said 7.9. I knew the 4.1 was incorrect because I didn’t have any “low” symptoms.

    So….I have learnt to stop the knee jerk reactions to a “low” reading…check finger blood first before downing a handful of jelly beans just to find your TRUE BSL is sitting at 15 about 15-20 min later!

    I ONLY use the Libre as a guideline and especially the trend arrow!

  2. Hopefully CGM becomes subsidised one day, because its a lot more accurate (I’m usually within half a mmol of my finger-stick BGL if not bang-on) than what you’re saying about the libre. Still a pretty cool piece of tech. I guess because its not true CGM & isnt designed that way that you have those weird outs. At least you’ve figured them out so you’re not stressing about it.

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