Diabetes management involves tracking an overwhelming array of details. This can include medical factors such as blood sugar levels to lifestyle components like diet and exercise. Fortunately for the more than 29 million people in the U.S. living with the disease, a variety of diabetes apps and online resources have emerged to simplify the process. Patients with diabetes can use the internet in a number of ways to help. They can understand their risks, maintain their health, and learn about symptoms or new treatments. This can allow them to be better prepared and informed when seeking medical care.
With the tagline, “eat a bit better,” the app Fooducate grades food and food products using a scientific algorithm designed to simplify healthy eating. To learn a product’s grade, all you have to do is scan an item’s barcode in the grocery store. Scores, which range from A to D, are based on ingredients and nutrition facts. The least processed, most nutrient-dense foods receive the highest grades.
The app’s explanations also reveal which foods are high in sugar and fat, helping you make better food choices for diabetes management.
For more information relevant to diabetes, visit the app’s website to read a blog catering to people with the condition. It explores issues like whether coconut sugar is preferable to traditional sugar because of its low glycemic index. (Answer: Treat coconut sugar the same as regular sugar.)
The app is available for iPhones and Androids for free, but offers in-app purchases geared to special diets including gluten free. The robust array of features included makes diabetes management easier.
This free app is only available on the Macintosh platform, but it offers recipes, a message board to connect with other diabetics, and a way to track blood glucose. The tracking capability allows you to see how exercising, eating various foods, and experiencing high or low stress levels affects blood glucose levels.
The app even reminds you to take your medication and enter data for food or exercise. An in-app barcode scanner quickly decodes the carbohydrate and nutrition information for the packaged foods you eat while another section provides quick answers to let you know if certain foods are off-limits.
An in-app purchase is available if you’d like weekly meal plans to solve the enduring mystery of what’s for dinner.
Glooko helps people with diabetes track blood glucose levels and send information directly to their doctor through email. After downloading the free app, available on iPhone and Android platforms, you’ll be able to upload readings into it directly from your glucose meter. Graphs provide snapshots of glucose levels over time in an easily readable format.
Glooko also has the ability to track diet, exercise, and medications. A food database helps you to learn more about healthy options and allows automatic updates into the diet log. The app is cloud-based, which means you can view data from any device with an Internet connection.
Tracking health information is a foundational part of diabetes management. This app is an easy way to do that.
Diabetes 24/7 is an online database run by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) that helps track health data including blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol levels.
The database integrates with Microsoft’s HealthVault, which is a free, comprehensive online portal that connects to other health-related apps, including those from select laboratories, hospitals, pharmacies, and insurance companies. Even if your laboratory or hospital isn’t connected to HealthVault, you’ll still be able to upload electronic copies of blood work, scans, and other tests.
HealthVault can also connect with devices like blood glucose monitors, making it easy to upload readings. As a bonus, the system provides ways of tracking exercise, diet, and other health goals.
HealthVault also provides the ability to send important health information to family members or doctors. In all, the system helps paint a complete picture of your health for diabetes management. Although it’s free, you’ll need a Hotmail or Outlook account to join.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive, one-stop shop method of diabetes management, HealthVault and the ADA’s diabetes app is a good option.
This blog/online newspaper covers all things diabetes with a helpful, positive slant. You’ll find research updates, reviews of new technology, and human-interest stories, such as an article about Miss America contender Miss Idaho, who is surviving and thriving with diabetes.
Founder Amy Tenderich studied to be a journalist but changed course after receiving a type 1 diabetes diagnosis in 2003. More information is better when it comes to diabetes management, and this site helps make the road an easier one to walk.
If you don’t know others living with diabetes, Diabetic Connect might be for you. The online social network features recipes, information about treatments and the latest news, and options for linking into the diabetes community to meet other people living with the condition.
The website also offers free downloads like an e-book with delicious desserts designed especially for diabetes.
Diabetic Living is the online home of a print magazine, but offers special, web-only content including recipes, free e-books, videos, and other education content designed to help with diabetes management.
The website also has a “What to Eat” section offering ways to navigate restaurant menus and explaining the different types of fats so people are able to better to create healthy diets.
This magazine and blog is chock-full of helpful information and scrumptious-sounding recipes like chocolate mocha pudding and smoked sausage pita pockets, all developed with diabetes diet requirements in mind.
Diabetes Self-Management began as a print-only magazine in 1983, and has won 367 awards since its start. Although the organization continues to publish a print edition, you’ll find plenty of information available online ranging from web-only exclusives to a selection of articles from the print magazine.
Covered topics range from weight loss and women’s health to dental and foot care. An entire section is also devoted to complementary medicine, which includes yoga and massage.
If you’d like to receive information straight to your inbox, the publishers produce a free, weekly newsletter to keep you up-to-date on all things diabetes.
Medical websites for diabetes information
Beyond diabetes apps are medical websites filled with information. Medical websites are typically those run by larger organizations or government agencies to provide the most up to date medical news and information about conditions. The two most popular websites for medical research on the web include the following.
This non-profit leader in medical care around the world has major campuses in Minnesota, Arizona, and Florida and clinics all over the country. It has been considered one of the top facilities for medicine for decades and is frequently at the cutting edge of research. The Mayo Clinic puts patients first and provides the best medical treatments and testing possible.
The clinic developed their website to be an evolving resource for patients and doctors. Their information on diabetes is comprehensive. It’s based on the most current research available and is always improving as they add new research.
This site was developed to provide medical information to the public by partnering with medical professionals and journalists. Board certified physicians are screened and vetted before they begin contributing to the site. WebMD offers interactive pages, the latest news, and community forums. Their mission is to provide users with information on health concerns, health research, and connections with others who have shared experiences. Diabetes patients can use WebMD to learn related news, connect with others, and become more informed about their condition.
Diabetes social media support groups
Social media has changed the way we communicate as a culture. Communities are no longer restricted by location. People from all over the world can discuss diabetes and other issues on these online forums. Some of the most popular social media sites include:
- Facebook: Currently one of the most popular social media groups, Facebook has the ability to connect people with diabetes from around the world. The power of community can’t be denied and knowing that others have similar experiences can be powerful medicine. Individuals can learn about treatments and how they have worked for others who have tried them. Groups, many of which are closed and private, can also facilitate conversations. Search “diabetes” to get started.
- Pinterest: While you may not think about Pinterest when it comes to diabetes, this visual site can be a great resource. Pinterest is still the fastest growing social media site today.
- Twitter: Individuals with diabetes are making their experience public by sharing their stories 140 characters at a time. Diabetes patients can also follow organizations such as the American Diabetes Foundation and the Diabetes Hands Foundation to get up-to-date news right on your smart phone.
The blogging boom started about a decade ago. Anyone who has something to say on a subject is willing to start a blog on it. You can find professional blogs, hobby blogs, and interest blogs based on anything you can imagine. For diabetes related content, there are blogs written by patients and doctors, both of which can provide support and information.
Some can’t-miss blogs are:
- Six Until Me: The project of Kerri Sparling this blog is about her own experience with type 1 diabetes. Kerri was diagnosed in the 80s. She started the blog in 2005 to give a voice to people with the disease on the internet.
- Insulin Nation: This blog provides details about insulin and all the available technology distilled in an understandable and readable way. Their mission is to bring information about diabetes treatments to everyone living with the disease.
- A Sweet Life: Couple Mike and Jessica were both diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and ultimately decided to create a resource for others coping with this disease. Their main focus is on creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle so that diabetes control will be satisfying. The site features news as well as first-hand stories from contributors.
- Diabetes Stories: Created by Riva Greenberg, this website is intended to share real life stories of patients living both types of the disease. The mission is to provide resources and personal stories to show people how to thrive with a diagnosis of diabetes.
Get started on diabetes apps and websites
The internet allows people to stay informed and connected in a way never before seen in human history. Access to websites and social media through mobile devices provides near constant access to information. The key is to make sure to disseminate the good from bad information. Using reliable resources like those listed here is one way to ensure that you get the best information possible.
What diabetes apps and websites do you visit for information?