Memory Monday: 1st Generation Dexcom CGMs

One Monday per month, I’ll take a trip down memory lane and reflect on how much diabetes technology, education, and stigma has changed over the years. Remember when…

…Dexcom CGMs made their debut?

It was just over ten years ago that the Dexcom SEVEN CGM System launched. I didn’t actually know more about it, though, until a couple years after the fact. That was when my endocrinologist encouraged me to sign up for a week-long trial run with this new technology to see how I liked it.

Then: The Dexcom SEVEN CGM System

I didn’t like it, I LOVED it. I quickly became obsessed with the ability to monitor my blood sugar levels at all times. But it’s funny to think back to how bulky and just plain different that first-generation system was compared to today’s sleek and highly functional models.

A few key differences between now and then:

  • Size. The first CGM was large. It was roughly the size of my OmniPod PDM, which might not seem so significant, but it is when measured up against newer CGM models.
  • Display. The screen on my first CGM was very simple. No colors, no frills – just readings of my blood sugar. That was all fine, but I have to say that I’m a fan of color-coordinated blood sugar reports (red for low, yellow for high, gray for in-range numbers). In a weird way, it motivates me to keep my graph as gray as possible.
  • Distance restrictions. I hated that I had to keep my first CGM so close to me at all times, or else run the risk of losing data! It was hyper sensitive and my readings would be lost if I left the same room as the CGM for more than a couple of minutes. My CGM is now able to pick up readings from much farther away – sometimes, even when I’m downstairs and it’s upstairs.
  • Sounds. My memory is a little foggier on how the sounds compare between old and new Dexcom CGM generations, but I do recall the beeps and vibrations being far more aggressive and annoying on older models.
  • Smartphone access. This might be one of the biggest and best changes – the ability to download an app on your smartphone that can replace a Dexcom receiver. How awesome is that? Plus, if you choose to do so, you can invite family and friends to monitor your blood sugar along with you, which can be helpful in certain situations. Cell phones are so ingrained into society, so this move was brilliant on Dexcom’s part.
Now: Dexcom data, on my iPhone!

All these improvements have made me a member of Team Dexcom for life. It’ll be neat to see what they come up with next to help make the lives of people with diabetes easier and better.

One thought on “Memory Monday: 1st Generation Dexcom CGMs

  1. I was a luddite about anything to do with my diabetes. I refused to try a pump until it seemed the only way to stabilize my sugar levels, didn’t work. Before I was put on it I was given a CGM to compile a few day of data for them to get the setting as close as possible, again didn’t work. I did love the CGM though. I never got to see the data until they showed it to me. I can’t remember if it was the day they took the monitor off me or when they put me on the pump. I was without for about another year or so until they asked me about going on a Dexcom to help me see lows before hand and prevent them. Other than cost I love it. So much faster and easier than finger or forearm pokes. I also love to debate with them about where to calibrate the sensors. They say use the fingers only but I always point out that that is not truly accurate. The sensor reads intertissal fluid not blood so if you measure your finger blood (fastest reacting supply) vs. using a forearm which is slightly slower in response you can closer to the roughly 20 minute lag for the sensor. That is mine that I have timed out. I eat and watch to see how long it takes. When I was on the last pump, the pump trainer was not sure about using the forearm until I continued to use it and we found the numbers are very, very close to accurate. Sorry, my experience is so limited but other than that all I can talk about is urine tests back in the stone ages. lol Fred Flintstone and I used to talk about it back then. lol


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