Did you ever stop, lift your eyes to the heavens, and just want to scream,
“Is There a GOOD Diabetes App?”
“There HAS to be a better, easier way to keep track of my numbers than carrying around a paper log book!”
Well, someone out there must have heard your desperate cry. There IS an easier way. But when you do a search for diabetes apps you will find a bewildering number of them. Some are free. Some cost money to use. Some are free unless you want to upgrade to a premium version.
How can you tell which one is best for you?
(Do you want the truth? Or a lie?)
Oh. Wait. That’s right. I never lie, so you are going to be stuck with the unvarnished truth.
Keeping track of diabetes is not easy. It’s time-consuming and a total pain in the neck (or possibly the finger or the arm, depending on where you test). More than likely you don’t want to do it. More than likely you won’t do it. But you NEED TO DO IT. You NEED TO KEEP TRACK OF YOUR NUMBERS.
Your doctor needs your numbers to treat your diabetes correctly. You couldn’t expect a doctor to treat you for a totally unknown disease if you didn’t tell the doctor what your symptoms were. Your numbers are one of the ways your doctor knows what medicines you need (and don’t need), whether or not you need to take insulin shots (and/or hormone shots like Victoza), what your dosage should be, and how worried you need to be about the complications of diabetes.
I cannot emphasize enough that no matter how irritating it is, how time consuming, how much trouble it is, you need to test regularly and you need to keep track of your tests! It took me years before I finally started tracking my numbers in a meaningful way for my doctor.
But I digress…. We were talking about apps, weren’t we?
The honest truth is that most of the time you really can’t tell if an app will work for you unless you try it — and a lot of them you can’t try unless you pay for them, which I find to be totally stupid, because how do you know if an app will work for you unless you first try it? “Catch 22.” You’re stuck in a never-ending cycle.
The same cycle I found myself in when I was searching for a good diabetes app. In desperation, I tried many different apps, discarding and throwing away app after app as I found them to be too complicated, without tracking features I needed, too hard to easily use, or just not right for me.
And in the process, I also threw away a fair amount of money while searching for THE app that was just right for me. And I finally did find one I’m happy using. (Well, maybe “happy” isn’t exactly the perfect word to describe my feelings about anything having to do with my diabetes, but it will have to do for now.) If you’re like me, you want to be able to keep track of everything in one fast, simple and easy to use app, without having to weed through a lot of extra “stuff” that you don’t want or need to keep track of.
DiaConnect – Diabetes Connect
With all of that in mind, the app I finally found that works best for me is called DiaConnect – short for Diabetes Connect. The icon for it in the Apple Store looks like this:
I have found this DiaConnect app makes keeping track of my numbers SO easy — it’s a lot simpler than I expected. The app is free to use, (YAY!) and I highly recommend you try it for a while using the free version, so you will know whether or not this app will work for you or not.
Things I like about this app are:
• It color codes each blood sugar test number in the app, so you can tell at a glance if you are on target (green), high (blue), very high (purple), low (orange) or dangerously low (red) and YOU get to set the target numbers yourself — according to what your doctor recommends for you.
• There is a Notes area (yellow in the image above) where you can write in anything you need to remember for that test. For instance, I write in which insulin pen ended or started, if i have a very low or high number, what did I eat or do (or not eat or not do) that might have caused that number? Did I have a cold or the flu? Did something very stressful happen in my life? Whatever it is, I put it into my notes.
• You can turn on the elements to be tracked and turn off anything you don’t need, so your app results will show only those things that are relevant to you. For example, you can keep track of (or turn off) carbs, your weight, blood pressure, medications, insulin usage, exercise (sports), etc.
• There’s a reminder function that will alert you if you need to be reminded to eat, take pills or shots, etc. (Available only in the premium version.)
• There are “Therapy” settings for ICT (for diabetics needing more than one kind of insulin such as fast and slow acting), Pump (for diabetics using a pump to administer their insulin), and Medications (for diabetics on medications only).
• The Sports (exercise) drop-down menu is filled with many different sports, but you can turn off all but the ones you are doing or might do, so you don’t have to scroll through the entire comprehensive list to get to the exercises you actually are doing.
• There’s an export function so you can send your chart results to your doctor, when you need to.
• The app has Labels — little picture icons — that you can can click on as a visual reminder of extra information about your reading. Was it before or after a meal? Were you sick? Are you menstruating? Do you use a catheter? Have a pump that needs to keep track of when you do a depot exchange? (I use some of the images to signify my own personal needs – for instance, I use the palpitation image to tell me when I’ve ended and started a new insulin pen.
• You can bring up pie and line charts when you want to track your info at a glance and there’s a “Statistics” feature, too, which allows you (and your doctor) to quickly and easily see your statistics – what was your highest and lowest blood sugar number? What was your average over the past 2, 4, 6 and 8 weeks and over the lifetime of your use of the app?
• This app synchronizes over multiple devices, making it very easy to keep track of your numbers. It also has advanced features (for if and when you need things like more than one kind of insulin, an insulin pump, etc.) so it can “grow” with you over the years.
• Overall, this is a wonderful app!
What I don’t like about this app:
• I wish the icon image labels could be changed to reflect my own personal diary needs.
• I wish they had a “left” and “right” column (or image) for keeping track of which side of my stomach I had injected each insulin shot.
• It would be helpful if the notes showed on the diary page – that it wasn’t necessary to click on the Notes column in order to see what was written there.
• But those are small inconveniences compared to all of the wonderful features of this app.
Want to Try this App?
Put DiabetesConnect into the search box in the Apple Store.(It is rated 4.5 stars.)
You can use the app at no cost. It’s free unless you wish to upgrade to the premium version. (There might be a maximum number of entries for the free version.)
After I’d tried this app for a while for free, I paid (about $30?) for the upgraded lifetime premium version. It was important to me to support the people who developed this app to allow them to continue to improve it. I can use it over multiple devices and it’s really “just right” for me.
I hope you find my honest assessment of this app helpful and useful in your search for a diabetes app that is perfect for you.
Until next time…