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An app a day keeps the sugar at bay

Type 2 diabetes can be managed more effectively with a mobile app, new research shows. Check for yourself with these five apps

Image Credit: GN Focus
GN Focus

1. One Drop: Diabetes Management

App Annie, which tracks app usage around the world, lists One Drop — Diabetes Management among the top diabetes-related apps in the UAE. This slickly designed app’s claim to fame is an “award-winning” data visualisation tool that uses colourful circles to track glucose level, medication intake and your physical activities. The app also gives you access to a growing community of diabetics — so you can exchange tips or learn from others about diabetes management. 

Availability: iPhone and Android.

2. Carbs & Cals — Diabetes & Diet

Also featuring on App Annie’s list for the UAE, Carbs & Cals has photos of more than 3,500 food and drinks items, along with carbohydrate, calorie, protein, fat and fibre values for each. The developer of the app points out this eliminates the need for scales and complicated calculations — all you need to do is compare the food on the plate to the photos in the app, select the portion size and get an instant view of calories and nutrients in what you are about to eat. 

Availability: iPhone and Android.

3. Diabetes Food Recipes

Of course, the best way to gain complete control over what you eat is by cooking it yourself. Diabetic Food Recipes wants to satiate your appetite with meticulously planned recipes that reportedly put the fun back into diabetic-friendly meals. The recipes cover everything from breakfast and snacks to main course and desserts. Besides, you can choose from low-carb, high-fibre variants of your favourite foods that you’ve so far pushed away due to diabetes. 

Availability: Android. iPhone users can check out the similar Diabetes Recipe App.

4. Life in Control Diabetes Coach

The app aspires to be your personal coach, helping you create a diet and exercise plan that adapts to your current health condition. You can set goals for managing diabetes and then let the app “hand-hold” you towards these targets — it claims to do this via “gentle reminders” and doling out small daily tasks. And if your doctor is also part of the Life in Control network (this could be sticky for UAE residents), she can access your data, monitor your progress and even tweak your treatment plan. 

Availability: iPhone and Android.

5. Diabetes Diary, Blood Pressure

Claiming to perfectly prepare you for the next visit to the doctor, you can use this app to store lab results, as also weight, blood and diabetes diaries. This data can also help you discover trends and make educated decisions about the impact of planned meals or insulin shots. The app also makes it easy to set reminders for medications — the alerts also pop up on smartwatches. You can also export your medical data out of the app.

Availability: Android and iPhone, but on the App Store, it is titled Laborom — Diabetes, blood pressure diary.

Reduction in blood glucose for app-savvy patients: Study

Smartphone applications could offer type 2 diabetics a highly effective method of self-managing their condition, researchers have found in a study. 

The study, conducted at Cardiff University in the UK, reported a reduction in average blood glucose levels in patients who used an app compared to those who did not, with an approximate reduction in HbA1c (glycated haemoglobin) of about 0.5 per cent. 

Younger patients were more likely to report benefit.

“As we enter an era where portable technology is increasingly used to improve our lifestyles, apps can offer a large percentage of the world’s population a low cost and dynamic solution to type 2 diabetes management,” the university’s Dr Ben Carter said. “By the end of the decade it is predicted global usage of mobile phones will exceed five billion, so apps, used in combination with self-management strategies, could form the basis of diabetes education and self-management.”

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