Comparing the Dexcom G5 to G4

(*This post originally appeared on my now defunct Blogger blog, but because this article still gets a lot of traffic, I wanted to move it to this current blog in the hopes that readers could find me!)



I got mine last week.

I was uber excited that:

1. All of the data from my sensor would go directly to my iPhone, and cut out the middle man, aka, the receiver. I misplace that stupid little thing often, and cannot tell you how much time I’ve wasted looking for it.  At least if I misplace my phone, I can call it from another phone and it will ring. Also, one less thing to carry around?! Sign me up!

2. I was told that if I was out of range from my iPhone, once I was back in range, it would upload the data.  This would be a big improvement, since sometimes I’ll forget my receiver when I go somewhere and will lose hours of data that will forever remain a mystery.

3. There is a phone app called “Clarity” that goes along with the G5. I have an older Mac and couldn’t use the other software that analyzed the data of the Dexcom G4. I had heard Clarity was very easy to read, and had lots of valuable info, including a predicted A1C.

After having had the new Dexcom for about a week now, my opinion is- it’s really not that different or improved than my previous G4 version. I am not blown away by any means.

1.  Yep, it goes directly to my iPhone. BUT I actually prefer a few things about the receiver, which is surprising to me.  It’s smaller than my ultra huge iPhone 6 Plus- I can’t even fit my mega phone into most of my pockets I’m now discovering.  Also, with the receiver, I just touch one button, and voila~I can see my blood sugar reading!  With the iPhone however, I have to hit a button to light up my screen, then hit my 4 key code to unlock (because just my thumbprint pretty much never works), and then hit the Dexcom icon.  That’s between 3-7 button pushes compared to 1.  It’s a small complaint, but it is a complaint.  (And neither of these problems are Dexcom’s fault, I realize.) If I’m somewhere like my yoga class, it’s one thing to press one button on a little meter, but it looks pretty obnoxious to have my iPhone in class and press several buttons to see what my blood sugar is– I might look like some asshole texting a friend during yoga. OH NO!

One advantage the iPhone has over the receiver is that I can set my alerts to different sounds, and I can adjust the volume.  BUT- and it’s sorta a big but- BUT, often the alarm only comes by way of a text alert, but not the sound. Maybe it’s a software glitch that will be cleared up soon, but for now, that’s not working consistently for me. Also, I have to remember to keep the volume on and up or I don’t hear the alerts anyway.

Another positive- I like the display on the iPhone- it looks like this:

Dexcom G5 quick glance graphic

And if you turn it to landscape, you can view it over the past 1 hour, 3 hours, 6 hours, 12 hours or 24 hours.

my last 12 hours graphed on the Dexcom app

If you run your finger over the little dots, it tells you your blood sugar for each individual dot.

(specific blood sugar readings for each dot on the graph as you move your finger along the line)

2. If I’m out of range, that missed data does NOT upload once I’m back in range.  It’s just blank areas of the graph. (You can see that in the above graph- I was out of range for a while around 11am and so it’s blank.) The Dexcom rep who told me that was either wrong, or mine doesn’t work right. So in this regard, the G5 and the G4 are the same.  Out of range is lost data and one of life’s great mysteries.

3.  The Clarity app makes no sense to me. For one, I can’t turn my phone and see it in landscape mode, so I can only see an unreadable version that looks like this:

I’ve got great eyesight, but I need a magnifying lens to have any idea what this says.

I have no idea what that graph is all about, and it’s such a small amount of information, helpful or otherwise even if I could read it.  However, that could change once it’s collected 14 days of data.  But so far, 6 days in, this is ALL it shows me.  And it’s not impressive at all.

So maybe I set the bar a little too high for the G5 before I got it.  It’s more or less the same as the previous model. Having the blood sugar data come directly to my phone hasn’t made a big difference in my life, like I thought it might.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my Dexcom, and at this point, can’t even figure out how I had decent blood sugar control without it- and how I avoided daily severe low blood sugars, especially during the night.  I’m just saying, the G5 hasn’t made me fall any deeper in love.

But I’m only 6 days in…

Author: kerriari

I'm a dog-lovin', music-makin', jewelry-creatin', lover of life... and I just happen to have Type 1 diabetes. I think of it diabetes as my sometimes challenging friend, who sometimes frustrates me, but overall~ I know she's a weird kind of blessing.

5 thoughts on “Comparing the Dexcom G5 to G4”

  1. hI kERRI
    YOU HAVE a wonderful attitude about diabetes. its been a long hard 6yrs from me. I have LADA . i was 54 when this happen. i currently wear the dexcom 4 and love it. i do not have an iphone . does the g5 work w/ android phones.
    also i tried the omnipod loved being wireless but rashes all over not sure if its adhesive or the canula itself. currently wearing the minimed revel by medtronics and its very comfortable.
    i still get very very flusttered when bs rises…ex. am bs 90 eat 38 carbs and 1 hr later 200plus 3 hrs coming down.. WHY??? does it go up then down. why not just a little bump.. what the heck am i doing wrong?? my A1c is 7.3 i am afraid to even go this month to the dr that it will be highter.. its driving me nuts ! any advice???

    sue g

    1. i’m not sure if the dexcom 5 works with androids? i would think by now, they’ve made that available but you’d have to contact them. i don’t know for sure.

      i don’t know about you, but i found that it doesn’t take nearly as many carbs to correct a low as i previously thought. i use to often eat way to many when i would get low, and then i’d have that rebounding problem, and the roller coaster would continue all day. now i eat less carbs just in general and require less insulin due to that so my highs and lows don’t swing as much. when i see my bs dropping, i’ll eat about 5-7g of carbs and that usually does the trick. by using that CGM, i’ve been able to see how carbs effect my low bs all the better- what does your doctor say about how many carbs to intake when you have a low?

      thanks for your comment, sue!

  2. I too have found that it can take only 8-12 carbs to “fix” a low bs…depending on how much active insulin is still working, but you do need fast acting agent such as glucose tablets. Plus, you have the “rebound effect” after a low bs. so eating an additional 38g of carbs is over kill to correct most low bs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *