I will cover in this video the why, the how, the pros, and the cons of the Freestyle Libre 14-Day Sensor.
I am not paid or endorsed in any way writing this review on the Abbott Labs Freestyle Libre 14-Day Sensor for the USA Review
First, why do I need a continuous glucose monitor or CGM when the finger prick meter method works? In a nutshell, you absolutely can not manage what you do not measure! If you don’t know what your body is doing at all times, how are you to learn what foods or drinks affect your body specifically? How do you know how that, donut, or can of beer, or even the orange you ate two hours ago affected your blood sugar levels? You want to know what your blood levels are trending to adapt on quickly and on the fly. You can only prick your fingers so many times before it’s a chore and becomes painful. It’s also a time-consuming process and over time it’s a lot of supplies to keep track of and waste produced. You also don’t know if at that moment what your blood is doing when you take a reading with a finger prick. If the reading shows 135, how do you know that 5 minutes later it’s not headed up to 145 or down to 125 or zig-zagging all over the place? Again I can’t stress enough that if you want a fighting chance of controlling your type two diabetes, then you must measure what your blood is doing at all times.
Why the Freestyle Libre Sensor? The Freestyle Libre Sensor is used by over 2 million people all over the world and in over 45 countries. Unfortunately, a lot of people have to self-fund the sensors like me because Kaiser doesn’t cover mine, but I am able to buy 6 sensors for around $180 for almost a 3 month supply from Walgreens, CVS I found was twice the price. I used a special prescription card also that’s free and easy to get for a discount. I believe the value for what you pay for these makes it one of the best investments in myself and in my health that I can ever make. You don’t need the reader that Abbott Labs sell for these because your iPhone or Android phone can be the reader so you don’t have to carry around another device to capture the readings from this thing and who doesn’t have their phone attached to them at all times as well nowadays? I have been using the system for over 2 years now and swear by it. It’s super painless to apply, it’s easy, it’s such a joy as opposed to the finger pricks which get painful, and the thought of applying it is scarier than what it really is, honestly, it’s nothing. It has what I can describe best as a stiff string that stays under your skin and attaches to the sensor to capture your readings constantly and stores it for you to scan onto your device. It stays on just fine for the 14 days without adding over-taping on it, and I apply it on my upper arm towards the back but have even tried it on my inner arm which was also fine for me leaving the room of course so that you can still apply deodorant but Abbott says to put it on the rear back of your upper arm. To read the sensor from your phone I hold the earpiece part of the phone on the top of the sensor to capture the readings for the last hour. The accuracy has been incredible for me and I don’t need to stab my hands to get my blood sugar levels. A CGM that isn’t accurate is pointless so that’s important to share. All reviews I have seen on this device get’s rave reviews and that it’s a game and life changer. You will need a prescription from your doctor to get the device but your doctor should jump at the chance of approving this for you if your diabetic. Again I paid for this out of pocket and I have not been endorsed in any way by Abbott Labs. That’s my why for using the Freestyle Libre 14-Day Sensor.
Cons: It can be knocked off your arm or sometimes the sensors fail, but the good news is that if you call Abbott Labs at the 855-632-8658 phone number, and they are available 7 days a week 8 AM to 8 PM Eastern Time; excluding holidays. They then will mail to your address a free replacement when you explain what happened. They may also ask you to send back the bad sensor for them to research what went wrong and will also mail you with the replacement sensor a postage-paid box to send the defective sensor back with. Keep the tracking number for that because I did have one sensor get lost on its way back to their labs.
Another similar product that I can’t review because I haven’t tried it is the Dexcom G6 CGM System, I just wanted to share that as well so that you know Abbott Labs isn’t the only one doing this. I ultimately stuck with the Freestyle Libre 14-Day Sensor because it was cheaper by about 50% and both do the same job. Although this device also only lasts 10 days instead of 14. The advantage of the Dexcom G6 is that they say it doesn’t require calibration but that calibration time is only 1 hour, it used to be 12 hours before Abbott improved the technology from their 10-Day Sensor. Dexcom also claims that the readings get sent right to your smart device, meaning you don’t have to hold the phone up to the sensor to get the last 8 hours of readings. Ironically while writing this script I saw the commercial for the Dexcom G6 on Super Bowl 55.
There is also a product you can buy that will turn the FreeStyle Libre into an auto transmitter to your smart device and that’s called Bubble Transmitter by Bubblan that turns the Freestyle Libre into a true CGM in that you don’t have to manually scan with it attached. It’s not something I use myself because the 8 hours and scanning manually work just fine for me, but I wanted to share that it exists. What’s even more interesting is there is a way to hack using the software from this device to extend the 14-Day sensor to 28 days for those who self-fund their devices as I do and reviewers of that say that it’s still accurate, but this is a medical device and so I can’t honestly recommend that, just wanted to share because I like to give as much information as possible.
You can even get a free sensor by applying for it on their website, google the term, “Join the MyFreeStyle program and try continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) for FREE” to find it and apply on their website. The disclaimer says that eligible patients will receive one FreeStyle Libre 14 day sensor at a $0 copay. The expiration date of the voucher is 60 days from the issue date. This program is not available for patients with gestational diabetes. Only patients 18 and older are eligible to receive an offer for the FreeStyle Libre 14 day sensor. This offer is void where prohibited by law. Abbott may modify or rescind this offer at any time without notice. The discounts are not available to beneficiaries of Medicare, Medicaid, or other federal or state healthcare programs or residents of Massachusetts, Puerto Rico, and other US territories. The free FreeStyle Libre 14 day sensor is provided as a sample and is limited to one per eligible person. The FreeStyle Libre 14 day sensor cannot be re-sold, traded nor submitted to any third-party payer for reimbursement and is not provided as an inducement for future purchases.
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