The Ultimate Guide to the Freestyle Libre 2 – Type One Style
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The Ultimate Guide to the Freestyle Libre 2

Published: 20 Sep 2022, Author: Charlie Cawsey

What is the Freestyle Libre 2?

The Freestyle Libre 2 works as a quick, easy-to-use, and painless way for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes to track their glucose levels on the go.

It is a small, discrete sensor – known as an Integrated Continuous Glucose Monitor (ICGM) – that you can place almost anywhere on your body.

The Freestyle Libre 2 sensor will detect highs and lows in glucose levels and alert you through the Freestyle LibreLink app. Users can also scan the device at any time to check their glucose levels instantly, with new readings every five minutes.

The Freestyle Libre 2 has changed the lives of over 2,000,000 people worldwide, making life with type one diabetes more trouble-free and safer.

Checking your glucose levels with a quick scan instead of a finger prick test makes a huge difference.The average type-one diabetic takes 8-12 manual finger prick readings a day, while the Freestyle Libre 2 automatically logs 288 a day.

All this extra data makes managing your day & your diabetes much easier.

How does the Freestyle Libre 2 work?

The Freestyle Libre 2 sensor works on a molecular level. The small, sticky sensor detects glucose levels in the interstitial fluid in the space between cells. The sensor uses a tiny, near-invisible, 0.0004 mm filament to draw glucose readings directly from the interstitial fluid.

Critically, this filament contains the Glucose Oxidase enzyme – a well-known catalyst that generates a small electrical field when it encounters glucose. This electrical field then tells the circuitry inside the Freestyle Libre 2 sensor about the glucose levels present at that moment. A clever algorithm then processes this data and sends a glucose reading to your smartphone in a clear & easy to read format.

Whilst a quick scan of the Freestyle Libre 2 will reveal the information you need, you can also set it to provide regular glucose updates and critical alerts directly to your smartphone.

But remember, it’s measuring interstitial fluid glucose levels, not actual blood glucose levels. Despite being a convenient solution for tracking your daily glucose readings, it's still important to check your blood glucose levels with a manual finger prick test every now and then – especially when driving.

Driving authorities, like the DVLA, don't yet accept CGM readings and often require manual finger prick readings, so it's best to have some on hand.

How do I use the Freestyle Libre 2?

The Freestyle Libre 2 is quick to set up and incredibly easy to use – helping you seamlessly manage your blood glucose levels daily.

Simply follow these easy steps to get your Freestyle Libre 2 set up:

Applying the Freestyle Libre 2 sensor:

First, choose where you'd like to insert the Freestyle Libre 2 sensor on your body. Generally, it's recommended to apply it to your upper arm.

Crucially, don't place the sensor near your insulin injection site. This can interfere with glucose readings and affects insulin absorption from injections in the area.

Prepare the insertion site

Next, you'll need to prepare your skin for the Freestyle Libre 2. Make sure to wash the injection site, remove excess hair, and ensure it is free from debris and dirt. Then, sterilize it with an alcohol wipe or equivalent, and wait for your skin to dry.

These steps are essential to ensure you don't get an infection and help ensure your Freestyle Libre 2 stays secured for the full 14-days. If you're having difficulty getting your sensor to last 14 days, you may need an adhesive patch to keep it on.

For this, simply follow the guidance from the Freestyle Libre 2 auto-applicator and insert the sensor. Once inserted, press down firmly on the adhesive patch underneath the sensor to it's secured.

Setting up your Freestyle Libre 2

Once the Freestyle Libre is in place, you'll want to configure it on the LibreLink app. The LibreLink app will connect your sensor to your smartphone. You can also use it to choose alarms and modify other settings as you see fit.

How to connect your Freestyle Libre 2 to your phone

  1. Connecting your Freestyle Libre 2 to your smartphone is hassle-free and easy. To pair your glucose monitoring device to your new sensor, simply follow these steps:
  2. Download the Freestyle LibreLink app on your smartphone.
  3. When you open the app, it will ask you to scan your new Freestyle Libre 2 sensor.
  4. Tap "scan new sensor" and hold the smartphone against your Freestyle Libre 2.
  5. You'll hear a distinct tone from your phone when it's finished pairing.
  6. Then, just wait one hour, and you'll be able to view and track your blood sugar levels whenever you like.

Benefits of the Freestyle Libre 2

For people with diabetes, worrying about changes in blood sugar levels and adapting your day to them often gets quite overwhelming. Especially when you're reliant on lots of finger prick tests to get your glucose readings.

Thankfully, the Freestyle Libre 2 will automatically take a staggering 288 glucose readings. All this extra data will reveal trends in your blood glucose levels you weren't aware of and makes managing your diabetes.

This gives you more freedom to live life the way you want, knowing that your Freestyle Libre 2 is looking after your testing for you.

Some of the benefits of the Freestyle Libre 2 include:

  1. • Dramatic reduction in the number of painful finger prick blood glucose tests you do every day.
  2. • Easily spot and interpret trends in your blood glucose – helping you to better understand your diabetes and make more informed choices.
  3. • See how your sugars behave at times when you wouldn't usually test – like in the middle of the night.
  4. • You can share your blood glucose data with your diabetes team to give them a much deeper understanding of your diabetes. It might even broaden your scope of treatment – letting you access new ones you didn't know you needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does CGM stand for?

CGM stands for Continuous Glucose Monitoring. To help keep glucose levels within a healthy range – and avoid the symptoms of rapidly changing blood sugar levels – continuous testing provides insight into how our blood glucose levels fluctuate throughout the day.

What is a CGM device?

A CGM device is any device that tracks your glucose levels continuously. Traditional testing involves a lancet (a small, sharp needle), a test strip, and a glucose meter. Manual tests like this are often painful and risk infection – especially where some users must do this up to 30 times a day.

CGMs, like the Freestyle Libre 2, reduce the frequency of painful pin-prick tests. CGMs attach to your body and use innovative sensors that automatically and continuously detect glucose levels.

They then send this information to your phone or portable device – so you can see precisely where your sugar levels are at any time.

Is the Freestyle Libre 2 available on the NHS?

Yes, the Freestyle Libre and Freestyle Libre 2 are available on the NHS with a prescription. As of recent policy changes in 2022, everyone with Type One Diabetes in the UK is eligible for a Freestyle Libre CGM on the NHS.

Is Freestyle libre 2 waterproof?

The Freestyle Libre 2 isn't fully waterproof, but it is water resistant, giving users the freedom to enjoy showers, swimming, or other short spells in water without damaging the sensor.

If your Freestyle Libre 2 often comes off in the water and the sensor still works fine, you can use a waterproof adhesive patch from Type One Style to jazz up your sensor.

Does the Freestyle Libre work through clothing?

You can scan the Freestyle Libre 2 through clothing. The Freestyle Libre 2 uses short-range NFC technology to transmit glucose data – so long as you aren't wearing far too many layers, you'll be okay.

How long do Freestyle Libre 2 sensors last?

Each sensor lasts for 14 days. After this, you'll need to apply a new Freestyle Libre 2 sensor to monitor your blood glucose levels. If the adhesive on your Freestyle Libre 2 is failing before the full 14 days the sensor will last, additional patches from Type One Style can help you get the full 14-day use from the sensor.

Where can I buy the Freestyle Libre 2?

If you fit medical criteria, you can get the Freestyle Libre 2 CGM prescribed or supplied through the NHS. However, if you don't, you'll need to self-fund it. You can purchase the Freestyle Libre directly from Abbott.

Pricing varies depending on your country of origin, but it's generally always around £50 ($60 or €60).

Make sure you get the full 14-days of usage out of each of your Freestyle Libre sensors. Choose from over 220 styles of adhesive patches at Type One Style.

While you're at it, why not browse our range of styles and patterns to decorate and reinforce your sensor– all from just £1.99 per Freestyle Libre patch?

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