apps to manage diabetes

10 Apps in Australia to Help You Better Manage Your Diabetes

If you're living with diabetes, prioritizing your health has never been more important. Here’s how you can choose the best apps to help manage diabetes.

by Emma Hall

If you have diabetes, you know how important it is to be aware of and to manage your condition. It is very possible to live happy and healthy with diabetes, but diabetics do need to keep track of their blood glucose levels and ensure that they are remaining stable. There are many lifestyle changes that people can make to better manage their diabetes, including through diet and exercise. Using smartphone apps can assist in managing the condition in a variety of ways, from tracking blood sugar and insulin, to providing information and inspiration for food, activity and more.

The Benefits of Using a Diabetes App

Smartphone apps are used by people across generations on a daily basis. We use them to connect with each other, to play games, to do our banking, to check the weather, and much more. Increasingly, apps are being used by all sorts of people to manage their health.

Diabetes apps provide a range of benefits to users. Firstly, because they are stored on your phone, they are always within reach. Very few of us will leave home without our phone, which means that a tool for managing diabetes is always with you. This is in contrast to more traditional diabetes devices such as glucose meters, which can be forgotten or purposely left at home when you attend a social gathering or an outing. Many healthcare practitioners agree that the best tool is one that is available when needed.

Additionally, a diabetes app provides the built-in ability to track data and keep diabetics informed of trends. A human monitoring their blood glucose level is less likely to pick up on patterns in the data than the computer within your smartphone. Diabetes apps can automatically analyse each new glucose measurement, 24 hours a day.

Apps can also present important information to users in a meaningful way. Many modern diabetes apps will turn various sets of data – including blood sugar, body weight, and daily exercise – into charts and tables which are easy to read and understand. When up-to-date information is presented in a readable way, it is more likely to be acted upon by the person hoping to manage their health.

What to Look For in a Diabetes App

When choosing an app to help you better manage your diabetes, it’s important to think about what your goals are for using the app. It may be remembering your diabetes medication, or monitoring your blood glucose stabilisation. It could be tracking your weight loss, exercise routine, or food intake. Or you could be looking for something to provide an overall view of your health and the way that this impacts your condition.

Once you have determined a goal, start looking at diabetes app options. Some key considerations to take into account when choosing an app include functionality, support, device integration, user-friendliness, and privacy.

Functionality

An app that doesn’t work well or consistently will not help you to manage your diabetes and achieve your health goals. One of the most important assets of an app is its basic functionality. Check if the app provides things that you will find useful. Some of these could include:

  • Reminders to take medication at certain times
  • A place to enter goals or objectives
  • Tips for healthy eating and exercise

Support

Some apps will allow you to connect with other people, such as health experts and other people living with diabetes. This support network can be helpful for managing the disease, finding advice, and seeking more information.

Device Integration

Apps that integrate with specialised diabetes devices, such as glucose meters or CGM devices, allow you to more accurately track your condition. This integration allows the app to gather more meaningful data and offers greater assistance in managing your diabetes.

User-Friendliness

An app is only helpful and meaningful if it doesn’t feel like a burden to use it. The best apps will allow you to input information quickly and easily, so you can track your diabetes and get on with your day.

Privacy

It is important to note that apps should not be gathering your personal medical information and providing it to third parties. Always check that the app is secure. Some may allow you to share information with your doctor, if you consent to this.

All apps can be rated by users, and these ratings (normally out of five stars) can provide an indication as to their quality. Many app stores will also provide reviews of apps. These can be helpful in determining if an app is right for you. When many other members of the diabetic community are reporting positive experiences with a certain app, it is a good indication that the app functions well and provides the desired purpose. 

Another thing to note is that many diabetes apps are offered free of charge. This means you can download a few and try them to see if the app works well for you. Many will also offer the option of upgrading for a small fee and accessing a larger range of features.

The Most Important App to Have for Managing Diabetes

Ultimately, the most important app to have for managing diabetes is one that you are going to use consistently enough for it to make a difference in your life. Any app that is difficult to use, doesn’t provide helpful updates, or doesn’t allow you to view accurate and up-to-date health information, will not assist in managing your condition.

The best apps for managing diabetes will offer a holistic view of health. Diabetes is a condition that affects – and can be affected by – many aspects of your wellbeing, including nutrition, activity, and mood. An app that provides a comprehensive view of multiple factors, that teaches you more about your diabetes, and helps you to understand how you can control the condition is the best tool. 

Best Diabetes Apps for Tracking Food and Exercise

People with diabetes do not need a special diet or a strict exercise regime. However, it is important that people with diabetes live a balanced life in order to keep their blood glucose levels within their specified target range.

Healthy Eating and Diabetes

Healthy eating and a balanced diet can help you to manage your diabetes. Consuming plenty of vegetables, legumes, and high-fibre, low GI carbohydrates helps to manage blood glucose levels and maintain general good health. 

People with diabetes should avoid saturated fats, excess salt, and added sugars in their food. Additionally, portion size can be important for blood glucose levels and maintaining a healthy body weight. Weight gain can make diabetes more difficult to manage, so it’s a good idea for people with diabetes to make sure you’re not eating too much.

Although diabetics shouldn’t feel that they can’t enjoy food or eat the same food as other people, it is a good idea to see a dietitian when you’re diagnosed. They can help you work out good eating patterns and teach you more about the ways that nutrition can impact the condition. 

Diabetes Food Apps

There are lots of apps that are designed to help people eat better. These are not necessarily all catered towards people with diabetes, and you don’t need to use a specific diabetes food app to take advantage of these handy on-the-go guides to food and nutrition.

Many apps will offer helpful features to allow you to track your intake of different kinds of foods, such as carbs, proteins and fats. You can also track food by calories. Some apps will allow you to keep a food diary, set goals, and even plan recipes.

Carb Manager

Available on Apple and Android

This free app allows you to log meals with photos and voice memos. You can also upgrade to the subscription version to track blood glucose and insulin values. 

Calorie Counter by FatSecret

Available on Apple and Android 

This food tracking app allows you to track your food intake and share information directly with your healthcare professional. It also includes a recipe diary for ideas on healthy meals.

Figwee Visual Food Diary

Available on Apple and Android 

It is important for people with diabetes to control their portion sizes and avoid weight gain. This app allows you to measure your meals and log food intake more accurately.

Exercise and Diabetes

For people with diabetes, regular exercise is crucial for managing the condition. Aerobic activity, such as walking, cycling, jogging and swimming, is associated with lower cardiovascular and overall mortality risks in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, aerobic training increases cardiorespiratory fitness and decreases insulin resistance. In type 2 diabetes, regular training reduces blood pressure and insulin resistance. 

Although exercise is important, it can be hard to know what to do when you’re a beginner. Many people with diabetes may be unsure of what kind of exercise will benefit them, how much to do, and how exercise may impact their condition. Speaking to your doctor can assist with this. 

Diabetes Exercise Apps

When you have an exercise plan in place, an app can assist you in tracking your progress, setting goals, and providing motivation. Some apps will allow you to compete in challenges and to share success with friends. 

RunKeeper

Available on Apple and Android

If you want to start running, or you’re already a runner, this app is a great option. It records exercise using GPS, offers personalised plans, and syncs with many fitness trackers like Apple Watch, Fitbit, and Garmin.

7 Minute Workout

Available on Apple and Android

This app provides high intensity internal training routines that you can follow at home. This type of training is great for boosting fitness. The app provides videos and text descriptions of each exercise.

Daily Workouts Fitness Trainer

Available on Apple and Android

This app features over 100 exercises to try, suited for any fitness level. It has been developed by personal trainers and integrates with other Health apps for syncing data like how many calories you’re burning.

Best Apps for Tracking Blood Glucose

Regular glucose monitoring is the best way for people with diabetes to manage and understand their condition. Most diabetics will keep track of their glucose levels using a portable blood glucose meter, called a glucometer. These work by analysing a small amount of blood. When you test your glucose levels, you need to record this information and make note of any trends. An app can assist you to store and analyse this data.

Glucose Buddy Diabetes Tracker

Available on Apple and Android

This highly rated app allows you to log blood glucose, medication and more. It helps you track trends in blood sugar, insulin, weight, blood pressure, and A1C.

Diabetes Connect

Available on Apple and Android

Record blood sugar, meals, insulin injections, and medication. This app allows you to export data into a PDF file that you can share with your doctor.

mySugr

Available on Apple and Android

This app allows you to view your blood sugar levels in clear graphs so you can easily detect trends. Paid features include reminders to check and log your blood glucose.

Best Apps for Diabetes Management and Education

Managing diabetes can be hard, especially when you are first diagnosed. For quick and on-the-go information and reminders, apps can be helpful to keep your condition under control. 

Diabetes Connect

Available on Apple and Android

Record all aspects of your diabetes management, including meals, insulin, medication and blood sugar. The app syncs across multiple devices and creates clear graphs and reports.

One Drop

Available on Apple and Android

This app tracks all the data you need to manage your diabetes, plus it offers a Bluetooth-enabled glucose meter that sends readings directly to the app. 

Best App for Medical Emergencies

In case of emergencies, it’s important that people can assist you and understand your condition. The Medical ID app provides a medical profile that is accessible to any bystanders, and can be accessed without the need to unlock your phone. It shows first responders key information that they can use to assist and treat you, such as your medications, allergies, blood type, and medical contacts. If you have an iPhone, this functionality is included as part of the Health app. For Android users, it’s available as a free download.

If you haven’t tried using an app for better management of your health, why not have a go. It’s a great way to record information, analyse trends, and work with your body to maximise your life while living with diabetes.

References
  1. Ahn, D. T., & Stahl, R. (2019). Is There an App for That? The Pros and Cons of Diabetes Smartphone Apps and How to Integrate Them Into Clinical Practice. Diabetes Spectrum, 32(3), 231–236. https://doi.org/10.2337/ds18-0101
  2. An App-Titude for Diabetes Management. (2020). Diabetes Australia. https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/news/an-app-titude-for-diabetes-management/
  3. Colberg, S. R., Sigal, R. J., Yardley, J. E., Riddell, M. C., Dunstan, D. W., Dempsey, P. C., Horton, E. S., Castorino, K., & Tate, D. F. (2016). Physical Activity/Exercise and Diabetes: A Position Statement of the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care, 39(11), 2065–2079. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc16-1728
  4. Diabetes and healthy eating. (2020). Better Health Channel. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/diabetes-and-healthy-eating
  5. Doyle, A. (2020, August 24). The Best Diabetes Apps of 2020. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/top-iphone-android-apps#glucose-tracker-diabetic-diary-your-blood-sugar
  6. Krans, B. (2018, August 20). Blood Glucose Monitoring. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/blood-glucose-monitoring#benefits
About the Writer
Emma Hall
Emma Hall is a professional writer with experience in healthcare and wellness. She loves to write clear and helpful articles about health, fitness and more. Emma lives in Melbourne and loves coffee, running, and her pet dog Bernie.
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