Practical considerations for continuous glucose monitoring in elite athletes with type 1 diabetes mellitus: A narrative review

Gurneet Brar, Sean Carmody, Alistair Lumb, Andrew Shafik, Chris Bright, Robert C. Andrews

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) refers to a metabolic condition where a lack of insulin impairs the usual homeostatic mechanisms to control blood glucose levels. Historically, participation in competitive sport has posed a challenge for those with T1DM, where the dynamic changes in blood glucose during exercise can result in dangerously high (hyperglycaemia) or low blood glucoses (hypoglycaemia) levels. Over the last decade, research and technological development has enhanced the methods of monitoring and managing blood glucose levels, thus reducing the chances of experiencing hyper- or hypoglycaemia during exercise. The introduction of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems means that glucose can be monitored conveniently, without the need for frequent fingerpick glucose checks. CGM devices include a fine sensor inserted under the skin, measuring levels of glucose in the interstitial fluid. Readings can be synchronized to a reader or mobile phone app as often as every 1–5 min. Use of CGM devices is associated with lower HbA1c and a reduction in hypoglycaemic events, promoting overall health and athletic performance. However, there are limitations to CGM, which must be considered when being used by an athlete with T1DM. These limitations can be addressed by individualized education plans, using protective equipment to prevent sensor dislodgement, as well as further research aiming to: (i) account for disparities between CGM and true blood glucose levels during vigorous exercise; (ii) investigate the effects of temperature and altitude on CGM accuracy, and (iii) explore of the sociological impact of CGM use amongst sportspeople without diabetes on those with T1DM. (Figure presented.).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2169-2177
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physiology
Volume602
Issue number10
Early online date28 Apr 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2024
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • continuous glucose monitoring
  • elite sport
  • flash glucose monitoring
  • glycaemic control
  • type 1 diabetes mellitus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

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