There's an app for that: Diabetes apps for daily management

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Samantha Markovitz, NBC-HWC

There's no question that living with diabetes has its challenges, but technology can definitely make it easier. Many people today have smartphones — so why not harness that power to make life with diabetes as smooth as possible?

There are a variety of diabetes apps that can improve aspects of managing and living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Some are connected to diabetes devices, while others provide helpful information to complement diabetes management.

Next time you're thinking about how you can streamline your life with diabetes, consider tapping into the following apps.

For keeping track of your stats

Glooko: With Glooko, you can sync data from your diabetes devices and fitness trackers, log carb intake, and set reminders for things like checking blood glucose or taking your long-acting insulin. It also enables you to share your reports with your healthcare team for support in making adjustments to your care plan during, or in between your office visits.

Tidepool: As a "notes" app for the Tidepool web application, the mobile app automatically uploads data from Apple Health which syncs with apps like Dexcom, InPen, mySugr, and OneDrop — as well as manual entries. You can tag data entries with notes, track trends from eating and exercising, use the information for in-the-moment data review, or share with your provider for deeper insights. Tidepool provides the option to donate your de-identified data to the Tidepool Big Data Donation Project.

Sugarmate: If you've wished that your phone could let your loved ones know where you are in case of emergency, that's just one of the features of Sugarmate, an app created by someone who has lived with type 1 diabetes for more than 25 years. It also has the ability to track blood sugars, diet, and exercise to create reports for you and your provider. Additionally, Sugarmate supports Apple Watch display and an Amazon Alexa skill that allows you to ask "Alexa, what's my sugar at?" to get quick information about your glucose levels without picking up your phone.

For eating your way through the day

CalorieKing: When you're eating on the go, the CalorieKing app provides you with an extensive database of nutrition information from restaurant chains and popular food brands to make carb counting and insulin calculations easier. Based on the popular nutrition information books handed out by endocrinologists across the country, the CalorieKing app replaces the need to carry around that hefty reference with a simple download on the app store.

MyFitnessPal: The MyFitnessPal app combines a detailed nutritional database with the ability to track food choices and carbohydrate intake. Tracking hydration and physical activity for actionable insights into your diabetes management and overall well-being can also be done. Your MyFitnessPal account also links up with other health apps, including Apple Health, to make your data most effective within your health app ecosystem.

For connecting with the community

Diabetes podcasts: There are many informative podcasts covering diabetes and tons of ways to tune in, so pick the podcast player that works best for you and start listening! Check out some of the excellent podcasts around type 1 and type 2 diabetes that available to listen to on platforms like Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Spotify:

Listening can provide you with valuable information and a vital connection to the larger diabetes community — without having to go anywhere.

Diabetes groups/pages on social media: If you're interested in being active on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, you can connect to the diabetes online community wherever people are gathering virtually. Jump into a conversation on Diabetes Daily or TuDiabetes where there are discussion forums for all types of diabetes. You're never alone with diabetes!

For networking your devices

Diabetes apps are closely tied to your selected diabetes management technology, focusing on the use of continuous glucose monitors (CGMs), insulin pumps, and smartpens.

For example, the Dexcom G6 allows you to use your phone in place of a receiver for your CGM data and enables you to share your numbers with your inner circle via the Dexcom Follow app. Meanwhile, the Dexcom Clarity app provides insights on blood glucose levels and detailed reports for your endocrine team.

Similarly, the Guardian Connect app has functionality for Medtronic Guardian CGM users.

If you use the FreeStyle Libre, the LibreLink app allows you to view your numbers on your phone in place of the reader. Likewise, the Eversense app receives and displays data from the transmitter.

The OmniPod DASH system utilizes the Omnipod DISPLAY and VIEW apps. Tandem t:slim pump users can use the t:connect mobile app, which serves as a secondary display. Finally, the InPen app enables users to keep track of multiple daily injections and display data for dosing decisions.

For emergencies

Although not technically an app, it's a good idea to use the medical identification feature on your phone in case of an emergency. It's great if you also wear a medical ID on your person, but this phone feature can be a great backup just in case. It's important to always be prepared!

Keep a fresh eye on app updates (and what's coming soon) to make your life with diabetes easier to manage wherever you and your smartphone are headed.

Want to learn more about diabetes app-connected device options? Check out the many different CGMs that are available.

Samantha Markovitz, NBC-HWC

Bio: Samantha Markovitz, NBC-HWC is a Mayo Clinic-trained National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach and the author of “Type 1 Diabetes Caregiver Confidence: A Guide for Caregivers of Children Living with Type 1 Diabetes.” Drawing from her own experience in living with T1D, Samantha is dedicated to empowering individuals and families to live well and thrive while managing health challenges and achieving their goals.

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Diabetes Management Tip