Got diabetes? There’s an app for that

Tech companies are jumping into the health arena with mobile applications to help people manage diabetes.

What would we do without technology! Most of us are glued to our cellphones or tablets simply for social reasons. But for others, mobile technology can also make life easier when you have a medical condition. Sometimes, it can even be a lifesaver.

If you have diabetes or know someone who does, you know daily life revolves around managing blood sugar levels through eating certain foods and taking medication or insulin.

Now, as they say, there’s an “app” for that.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the use of mobile applications (apps) can lead to improved A1C levels and self-management of diabetes.

But just do a search for diabetes management apps, and the options can be overwhelming.

To find an app that can help you, first choose one based on your individual goal. Is it to track blood sugar? To take medication at a specific time? To count carbohydrates? Or maybe to find community support?

Dee Paradowski, registered dietitian and diabetes educator for Norton Healthcare, suggests several apps, including “Glucose Buddy,” an easy-to-use tool for logging food, medication and blood sugar readings. “dLife” does the same as well as provides diabetes-friendly recipes, educational resources and videos.

Norton Healthcare offers a variety of diabetes management services

To learn about them, call the Wendy Novak Diabetes Center at (502) 629-2604.

Her patients also like “My Fitness Pal” and “Calorie King” for tracking carbohydrate intake. Both of these apps have large databases on nutrition facts and carbohydrate content of foods.

“My advice is to try various apps before paying for one and experiment with the ones you find to be the most user-friendly and easy to navigate,” Paradowski said.

The diabetes education program at Norton Healthcare provides information on a variety of apps and support groups for patients with diabetes in the Louisville area.

While Paradowski thinks apps are a great tool to help people manage their diabetes, they’re worthless if you don’t use the information to improve or maintain health.

“Mobile apps are simply a tool to help manage your diabetes more efficiently. They let patients feel more organized with all their self-care responsibilities,” she said. “People with diabetes still need to give themselves their medicine in the right doses, monitor their blood sugar and consume a healthy diet.”

Regular doctor visits still are a must. This is where you can share with your physician any feedback you have gotten from the app, such as graphs showing blood sugar trends or a decrease in BMI (body mass index).

Whether an app works or doesn’t is up to the individual using it. According to Paradowski, some people think it’s just too much work. But for others it’s a great way to track vital health information and manage their disease.

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