Do You Manage Your Diabetes Digitally?

  • 1 Minute Read

Should you use a diabetes app for managing diabetes? Find out why you definitely should, but how few people are.

According to recent research, only 1.2% of diabetics who have a smartphone use a diabetes app for managing the disease. That's an intriguing number given how many people who have smartphones use mobile health apps in general, which is expected to be 500 million of the total 1 billion smartphone users by 2015.

Diabetes is reported to affect 382 million people worldwide, but over the next 20 years that number could reach 592 million, according to IDF Diabetes Atlas, 6th Edition.

Using a diabetes appcan help people managed their diabetes in the same way as a weight loss app does - by empowering people to make better food choices, make positive behavior changes, and facilitate communication with healthcare professionals (or trainers, family, friends, etc.).

Diabetes is a very complex condition that requires various treatment and education strategies in order to achieve success that goes beyond glycemic control. Proper diabetes management includes adequate lifestyle habits, education, and prevention of diabetic complications.

One recently published clinical trial from Diabetes Care showed that "patients with type 2 diabetes who received behavioral mobile coaching through the use of tracking medications, caloric intake, glycemic levels, and other management information, compared with usual care without mobile coaching, were more likely to experience greater decreases in glycated hemoglobin (A1C)." If this is true, why isn't everyone with diabetes and a smartphone using a diabetes app?

With over 1,100 diabetes apps currently on the market, it really comes down to which ones meet the best practice standards.* The majority rely on manual input of test results, and few integrate important motivational aspects of diabetes management while also facilitating easy communication with healthcare providers.

But a good diabetes app will focus on these three areas for diabetes management:

  1. Glucose control. It is very important to understand the relationship between meals/foods and glucose. With that, one needs to be able to set custom glucose goals.
  2. Medications log. Users need to be able to track and record things like insulin injections, oral medication, and other dosages prescribed by their doctors.
  3. Food log. Diabetes patients understand, or at least they should, that a well-balanced diet helps achieve adequate glucose control. From calories and carbs to a variety of other nutrients, tracking foods should be a daily and easy activity.

*MyNetDiary Diabetes App was recently selected by the University of Florida as a "Top-Rated Diabetes App".

Jan 23, 2014
Ryan Newhouse - health writer, MyNetDiary

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