Freestyle Libre ‘flash’ Glucose Monitoring for Diabetics

Depending where you live and whether you fit the required ‘criteria’ you may now have access to the Freestyle Libre monitoring system on the NHS. If you aren’t able to get one on the NHS (in the UK) you are looking at around £160 for a starter pack and then the sensors are £60 each and last 14 days.

So what is it?

Although it’s nice to think that the Freestyle Libre is an alternative to finger prick testing it is actually designed to be used along side it but it can significantly reduce the amount of finger prick test you have to do.

The Freestyle Libre works by measuring the amount of glucose in your interstitial fluid (ISF) which is a thin layer of fluid that surrounds the cells of the tissues below your skin. This is different to finger prick testing which test the glucose in your blood.

The sensor is applied to the back of your upper arm and you can then use either the Libre handset or the Libre app on your phone to scan over the sensor and see your reading.

What you need to know

  • If you finger prick test and scan you are likely to have slightly different results. This is because the reading taken from the Freestyle Libre sensor is using your ISF which is known to have a delay of 5-10 mins compared to blood glucose readings.
  • The Libre is not designed as an alternative to finger prick testing it is designed to be used alongside it.
  • Each sensor lasts 14 days then it has to be replaced.
  • If your Libre reading doesn’t reflect the way you are feeling always do a BG test to double check.

The best bits (in my opinion)

  • Massively reduces the amount of finger prick tests you need to do.
  • You can be discrete when you want to be! Scanning your arm with your phone or handset is a lot easier in certain situations then getting your BG monitor out and pricking your finger.
  • It not only shows you what your glucose level is but also the direction its heading and how fast! This is the game changer for me!
  • Lots of clear data and graphs to show any particular patterns in the rise and fall of your glucose levels, estimated HBA1c, time in target etc.
  • For parents of children with Type 1 this must be amazing as they will now be able to check their child’s glucose levels while they sleep without waking them.


I would highly recommend the Libre monitoring system especially if you are looking to improve your control. It’s a great bit of a kit and I believe there are plans to improve it further (like there are with all new technology!). The best way they could improve it in my opinion would be to add in an alarm like a lot of CGM’’s have to alert you if you are going too low or too high.