6 Ways Technology Can Help You Manage Diabetes
Managing your diabetes is important to avoid the risks of some pretty gnarly side effects, from feeling run down and sluggish to much more serious conditions. The best approach to managing diabetes is a combination of diet, exercise, and medication. At the same time, various pieces of tech can help you monitor blood sugar, plan meals, and provide your body with insulin.
While using these apps won’t result in you being able to eat an unrestricted diet, using them to help you manage your diabetes will help you live a long and healthy life. Check out some of the most beneficial ways that technology can be used to manage diabetes.
1. Smart Insulin Pens
A smart insulin pen is a handheld device used to deliver insulin to individuals with diabetes. These devices are equipped with a small computer chip and a sensor that can track and monitor the insulin dosage and timing of the injections. Smart insulin pens can allow you to better monitor and control your blood sugar levels. This can help prevent complications such as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).
For example, the Medtronic InPen is a reusable smart insulin pen that includes Bluetooth connectivity, which allows the pen to communicate with a companion app. Through the app, you can take the guesswork out of dosage amounts to ensure you never run low on insulin. It also provides dose reminders, offers carb-counting support, and includes a digital logbook that you can share with your healthcare provider.
Other smart insulin devices feature a small LCD screen that displays information such as the insulin dosage, time since the last injection, and battery level. You don’t have to charge the InPen, and its battery should last one year from the time you pair it to your smartphone, according to the Medtronic support page.
2. Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Systems
Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) systems are medical devices that are used to continuously monitor and track your glucose levels. A GCM system consists of a small sensor inserted just under the skin, typically on the abdomen, and a transmitter that sends the glucose data to a mobile app or display device. For example, the Dexcom G6 measures the glucose levels in the interstitial fluid under your skin and sends the data to the G6’s companion app.
CGM systems like this can alert you when your glucose levels are too high or too low, and can also set alarms for specific glucose level values. They allow you to have a better understanding of your glucose levels throughout the day and night. With the built-in alert function, these devices can remind you when to take action to bring your glucose level back to a safe range, reducing the likelihood that you’ll suffer the effects of hypoglycemia.
What’s more, the historical data stored on CGM apps can also help you identify patterns and trends in glucose levels, which can be used to adjust your treatment plan and lifestyle.
3. Smart Insulin Pumps
An insulin pump is a small medical device that is worn on your body, usually on your waist or upper arm. The pump contains a reservoir of insulin and a small computer that controls the delivery of insulin through a small tube (catheter) that is inserted under your skin.
There are various devices on the market that serve this purpose, such as the Omnipod, which delivers a constant, low dose of insulin (basal rate) throughout the day. This helps to keep blood sugar levels stable between meals and overnight.
They can also deliver a larger, specific amount of insulin (bolus) at meal times, which helps to lower high blood sugar levels after eating. Some pumps can even calculate the amount of insulin that is still active in your body and adjust the bolus doses accordingly to avoid stacking of insulin. Insulin pumps can improve wellbeing by providing a more precise and flexible way to deliver insulin and prevent hypoglycemic events.
4. Mobile Apps
There are many mobile apps for tracking blood sugar levels, insulin doses, exercise, and other important factors that impact your diabetes management. Some apps can also provide you with personalized recommendations for managing your diabetes based on your specific needs.
For example, the mySugr app lets you log your medicines, meals, and other data. All you need to do is add data every time you do any diabetes-related activity, like checking your blood sugar level. Rest assured, the app also includes reminders to check blood sugar in case you tend to forget!
Download: MySugr for Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)
5. Digital Meal Planning
There are many resources and apps for cooking diabetic-friendly meals, which can result in you consuming fewer carbohydrates. This can be helpful for people with diabetes because it can help you better manage your blood sugar levels.
For example, Diabetic Foodie is a website focused on maintaining a low-carb and low-sodium diet without compromising on taste. You’ll find two main sections on the website: Recipes and Special Diets. Under Recipes you’ll find what you expect—instructions for everything from main courses to desserts. Under Special Diets, you’ll find gluten-free and vegan recipes.
All recipes at Diabetic Foodie follow the guidelines set by American Diabetes Association.
6. Wearable Fitness Trackers
Many wearable fitness trackers can track your physical activity, heart rate, and sleep patterns. This information can be especially useful for people with diabetes, as regular physical activity and getting enough sleep can help you better manage your blood sugar levels.
Some smartwatches are even capable of connecting to other devices, such as glucose monitors and insulin pumps. The Samsung Galaxy Watch’s BioActive Sensor combines three health sensors: optical heart rate, electrical heart signal, and bioelectrical impedance analysis.
Managing Diabetes With Technology
Managing diabetes is crucial to avoid feeling run down and other serious complications. A combination of diet, exercise, and medication can help manage diabetes effectively. Meanwhile, smart insulin pens, CGM systems, and insulin pumps are some examples of how technology can help you keep track of your blood sugar levels and provide you with alerts and reminders to help you manage your diabetes more effectively.