Are you one of the millions of Americans with diabetes?
November is National Diabetes Month, a condition that is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Of the 25.8 million Americans who suffer from the disease, 7 million do not know they have it, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Diabetes is a chronic condition that results from defects in insulin production, insulin action or both. There are two main types of diabetes — Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 usually occurs before the age of 20 and is a result of the pancreas no longer making insulin. This type of diabetes requires taking insulin and possibly other medication. Type 2 diabetes, often called adult onset diabetes, is the most common form of diabetes and can be controlled with proper diet, medication and exercise.
The National Diabetes Education Program, through the National Institutes of Health, points out that you may know what to do to manage your diabetes, but putting those steps into action in your daily life can take some work.
Having a smartphone might make monitoring your glucose numbers and carbohydrates throughout the day a bit easier. Don’t have a smartphone? There are a number of web tools, too.
Diabetic Connect is a social network connecting people with diabetes. You can meet patient advocates, educators and other people with diabetes. Select educational videos sourced from YouTube and available on the site discuss medication, diet and show personal stories. Diabetic Connect is operated by Alliance Health, a social media company that has a portfolio of 50 health-specific social networks that reach 1.5 million members.
“You can’t hold a cocktail party at a rock concert,” Dan Hickey, senior vice president of product at Alliance Health Networks, tells Mashable. “Our Diabetic Connect social network appeals to patients looking for a trusted space that is private and intimate — something Facebook and other social channels cannot provide. Online conversations flow more freely because we give members the choice to be anonymous, which fosters deeper engagement on sensitive subjects and encourages patients to openly share useful insights.”
Glucose Buddy is a free app from Azumio. You can manually enter your glucose numbers, carbohydrate consumption, insulin dosages and activities and monitor them throughout the day on the app or on your free account on Glucosebuddy.com. You can also view and print charts that show your glucose levels. The app is available for iOS and Android.
“The daily tracking tools have allowed people to actually lower their H1BC levels,” said Tom Xu, creator of Glucose Buddy, and chief product officer at Azumio. “Diabetes management is a daily effort of maintaining glucose levels. Digital tools, and specifically mobile apps are powerful as the phone is with you 24/7 making manual entry of such an important measurement much easier than before, allowing people to adhere more consistently with their monitoring and treatment plans.”
Diabetes Tracker by MyNetDiary is an iOS app that is used by 2.5 million people. It costs $9.99 but offers a lot of interactive features. You can track your glucose and carbohydrates by manually entering information or scanning a barcode on the food container. If the food isn’t in the database, you can send the company photos and they’ll update the database. You can track your glucose levels throughout the day, and see daily and weekly reports. You can also track your medications, exercise, water intake and A1C, LDL, HDL, BP tracking.
MyFoodAdvisor from the American Diabetes Association is a website with a bank of diabetic-friendly recipes. It gives users a monthly meal plan with a variety of recipes. Each month, subscribers receive an email with monthly cooking tips about how to adjust calories and carbohydrates in recipes. You can also search the recipe section of the site by food type, ingredient and number of calories or carbohydrates.
The iBGStar Diabetes Manager Application is the first FDA-approved blood glucose meter that connects to the iPhone and iPod touch. It pairs with an app so your real-time results can be managed while on-the-go. Using the device you prick your finger to draw a small amount of blood. The monitor is available for a little more than $70 and comes with 10 testing strips, or about $100 with 50 strips. Check with your insurance provider to see if the device or strips can be covered. The company also offers a savings card which can be applied toward strips and warn the blood testing devices should not be shared with anyone.
Throughout this month, you can share an image reflecting what diabetes means to you on the American Diabetes Association’s Facebook page. CVS/pharmacy will donate $1 to the association for every photo uploaded.
Did we miss any apps or web tools you use to help manage your diabetes? Tell us in the comments.
Photo courtesy iStockphoto, courtneyk