My life, like many others’, is centered around my iPhone. I can’t imagine my life without it. Web developers realize the increase in smartphone use could be helpful in managing diabetes and there are apps that can help diabetics count carbs and track their blood sugar trends. I reviewed a few of the free apps for the iPhone to see if they could be beneficial for diabetics.
This is a great starter app but there are definitely some limitations. It logs glucose readings but doesn’t indicate a before meal reading or post-prandial (1 hour post meal). These readings are the best for truly seeing how well the sugar is being controlled or how different foods can affect the blood sugar. It has the ability to upload your information to Twitter (#bant) and there is an online community for support and to share ideas. You can also upload your results to websites like www.healthvault.com so your doctor can see your trends at your next appointment. I think adding a medication reminder to help taking insulin or oral medications would be a useful tool to help people stay on track. Currently this app does not have nutritional information to help with tracking calories and carbohydrates.
This app expands on what Bant can do by providing specific times your blood sugars are tested, like before or after meals. It can be linked with another program called CalorieTrack for $2.99 to track carbohydrates, calories and other nutrients. Exercise and food information will then be pushed to your Glucose Buddy account. This helps to show the affect that carbohydrates will have on your blood sugar and graphs out the relationship for you to see. You can also purchase an add-on for $3.99 to log your weight and blood pressure. Although it’s nice to have all of this information in one place you probably could download a couple different free apps to get the same results.
This app is geared towards children and doesn’t allow you to log your blood sugars or your food but instead is a learning tool to understand how many carbohydrates are in certain foods. It’s promoted by Medtronic which is a company that makes insulin pumps. Insulin pumps use carb counting to determine how much insulin will be released with each meal and snack as well as the amount of insulin released throughout the day as a baseline. This app would be ideal for a new pump user but is a helpful tool for all diabetics. It has images of different foods and shows how many grams of carbohydrates they contain. It also has games to help you learn what foods have carbs and which ones do not, determining which food has more carbs, and shows you how to build your own meal to reach a target amount of carbs.
This app combines all the strengths of all the other apps I’ve mentioned. It tracks medications, carbs, weight, blood glucose, exercise and water intake. The lite version is limited in the amount of information it will hold. The lite app can be upgraded to the full version for $4.99. The upgraded app also logs blood pressure.
There are other apps out there that you could pay for that might be more useful than the ones I’ve mentioned. Diabetics who are tech-savy now have a more convenient way to manage their disease that may better fit their lifestyle.
January 12th, 2012