There are almost one million apps in the iTunes store, and when you consider all the apps unique to Android phones, the choices can be overwhelming. With 40,000 apps just in Health & Wellness, how do you know which one is going to give you the best results?
We’ve compiled a list of some of the best diabetes apps for helping you keep track of your blood sugars. Even healthcare teams are starting to get on board with apps to manage diabetes and other health issues. Dr. Shara Bialo, a Pediatric Endocrine Fellow at Brown University, says, “For me, most apps streamline data nicely and make my job easier. Patients hate writing things down so I am often forced to click through stored numbers one by one on a meter. With logging apps, I can analyze an email, printed report, or the app itself for a bigger picture, making for more obvious glucose trends and much more informed management decisions.”
Many diabetes apps listed are available on both iPhone and Android platforms, but in some cases we provided an alternate option.
Glucose Buddy: Available on iPhone and Android phones
Glucose Buddy received top marks from diabetes organizations like American Diabetes Association for being a comprehensive, easy-to-use logging app. You can log and tag your blood sugars, medications, and carbohydrates, and send PDFs to yourself or to your healthcare team. The online platform, which automatically syncs with the app, also projects your next A1c level.
What A User Says: Carey Lisk, a type 1 PWD, says, “I’m in college with a double major and play soccer as well and so keeping track of my info is very important. I love that I can email it to my endo and she can give me feedback without having to step foot in her office. I love that I can look at all of my information and see where things are and how to fix them. I have spotted trends in numbers which has been extremely helpful! I love that I can plug it into my phone on the go, so I can spend less time dealing with diabetes and more time doing me.”
mySugr Companion: Available only on iPhones
Launched in June, mySugr Companion is the new kid on the Diabetes Logbook. Created by two Austrian type 1 PWDs, mySugr made waves because of its unique approach to diabetes: creating a nameable monster that you “tame” via the actions you take to manage diabetes. Users get points for testing their blood sugar and logging medications and food. Clever icons and sound effects also make mySugr Companion stand out from the crowd and puts a fun spin to the tedious chore of logging.
Fun fact: Tim Ferriss, the man behind the 4-Hour Work Week and the 4-Hour Workout, is on MySugr’s Board of Advisors. Pretty cool!
What A User Says: Sarah Kaye, a type 1 PWD, says, “This one is so much better in my opinion because it’s not just about numbers and insulin. The app creators really sat down and figured out that we needed ways to track things like activity, what types of activity, and how our emotions can have an effect on our blood sugars as well (or vice versa). The app really helps me to understand not just on a daily basis, but on a weekly basis how I’m doing not just in numbers, but in the amount of carbs I eat, hypers vs hypos, and the amount of activity I’ve done over time. It’s very comprehensive. Not to mention, it’s just fun to use.”
BGMonitor Diabetes: Available only on Android (iPhone alternative: RapidCalc)
Created by a type 1 PWD, BGMonitor work to bring the ease and functionality of an insulin pump’s Bolus Wizard Calculator to folks who are on multiple daily injections. After initially entering your personal settings, users can plug in their blood sugar and carbohydrates to receive their dose calculation. The app also records the blood sugar and dose, just like an insulin pump would. BGMonitor provides insights and analyses based on the inputs to help you make any necessary adjustments.
What A User Says: Elizabeth Fritz, a type 1 PWD, says, “I like this particular app because it is quick and simple to use. I can set up when I eat breakfast, lunch and so on so that it is able to keep accurate graphs, statistics and averages. I can check out averages for the week, month and so on. It also highlights any highs in red and any lows in yellow, keeping my in range ones black, so that they easily stand out for review.
When I see my doctors and they update my ranges/carbs per meal and all that good stuff I can easily go into the setup option and change the numbers around.”
iBGStar: Available only on iPhones
Sanofi’s iBGStar is what many tech-savvy PWDs dream of: a glucose meter that directly talks to your iPhone. With a teeny-tiny glucose meter that plugs into your phone, iBGStar’s app becomes your meter interface. It has all the standard logging and graphing capabilities of other apps, but it comes with the added benefit of taking out a huge step: transferring the info from one device (your glucose meter) to another.
Unfortunately, many users find that insurance companies aren’t so quick to cover this new meter, so you’ll have to check with your insurance company before you get too attached. However, if you love the user interface of the app, you can still manually enter in your glucose readings.
What A User Says: Kim Vlasnik, a type 1 PWD, says “I have found the iBGStar app to be especially helpful during my pregnancy, as I’m checking at an almost obsessive rate (often once an hour, or more). It’s nice to not need a cord to do downloading – just plug into the phone and go – and I can refer to the tTrend chart any time I need a reminder of how the day has looked. The “statistics” page is great for me, too, giving me an idea of how I’m averaging over a number of days (7, 30, 60, etc.) When there is so much to worry over when it comes to T1D and pregnancy, that app helps to give me some instantaneous peace of mind (or an indication of where I need to make changes!).”
Price: The app is free, but the iBGStar meter costs $99.99 at Apple (with 50 test strips) or $74.99 at Walgreens (with 10 test strips)
Glooko: Available only on iPhones
But what if you really don’t want to log your blood sugars? Technically, all the info is stored in our medical devices anyway, which Glooko capitalizes on by creating an app that can upload records of 17 different FDA-approved glucose meters. Using a single cord, the MeterSync Cable, you can download your readings to the app as well as the web-based dashboard which then allows you to edit the information for context, such as insulin, medication and food.
What A User Says: Sarah Mart, a type 1 PWD, says, “I like the “Goals” section where you can set realistic short-term outcomes to achieve, whether it’s a certain number of BG tests per day, or BG range to stay in, or amount of exercise, it’s easy to keep track and stay on course. The format of the diary, graphs and reports are simple, easy to read, and fun. E.g. the icon for pre-meal BG is a whole apple, post-meal is an apple core. And the ability to send a PDF of my data to my endo via email is very easy.”
Price: The app is free, but the MeterSync Cable is $39.95, plus an addition $14.95 for AccuChek meter users.
For those interested in a web-based app that’s mobile friendly, I just launched one yesterday: http://www.glucosetracker.net
It’s completely free and has very modern look thanks to front-end frameworks such Twitter Bootstrap.
Thanks for mentioning mySugr Companion. We’re pretty excited about the love we’ve seen after the US launch last month.
I think it also says a lot to be surrounded by so many other great diabetes apps. The field of diabetes apps that make a difference is evolving, which is a really great thing for all of us.