* the opinions expressed are those of the author and not Nutrition Ink.
Having diabetes means having to keep track of a lot of information from blood sugar
readings and medications to meals and physical activity. This can be very difficult, time consuming, and overwhelming, especially for those that have been newly diagnosed. Thankfully, there are many different apps that have been created specifically for diabetics to simplify their lives. These apps will typically allow its users to log their data, see patterns, set goals, and track progress. Many diabetes devices, from glucose meters to continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps, come with an integrated app that syncs the device to your phone.
The diabetes regulating app that I will be zooming in on is the mySugr app. The mySugar app was developed in 2012 in Vienna, Austria and is available in 13 languages. The app has more than one million users in 52 countries! The mySugr Logbook app is a registered risk class 1 medical device in the US and EU which is the same medical risk as floss (not too riskyJ). Research studies testing the effectiveness of the mySugr app for diabetics indicate a positive correlation between the regular use of the mySugr app and better glucose, glycemic, and overall diabetes control.1,2 Additionally, the observed and reported effects were found consistently across the investigated population and independent of nationality or gender, which seems to indicate a successful cultural adaptation of the mySugr application. 3 A research study conducted by Kebede and Pischke in the form of a web based survey from 2017-2018 found that there was a significant increase in self-care behavior for persons with type 1 and type 2 diabetes when using diabetes apps (with mySugr being reported as one of the most commonly used). 4
The good news is that this app is free and has no internal social network or advertising which can be distracting and annoying. The user can log physiological stats, diet, meds, carb intake, blood glucose levels, mood, and environment, and the app collects, stores, and evaluates the diabetes related information. The app also features clear blood sugar level graphs, provides estimated HbA1c at a glance, and has a daily, weekly, and monthly medical analysis. Furthermore, the app provides detailed reports to bring or send to your doctor and the app’s location services identifies hospitals closest to you. The app has a gamification factor and is revolved around “taming the diabetes monster within you” which keeps people engaged and more likely to consistently log their information. Externalizing diabetes through the diabetes monster is a key part of mySugr's idea of “making diabetes suck less”.
With the mySugr scanner app you can scan your blood sugar values from your meter right to your iPhone. This can work without any cables, Bluetooth, WiFi or other complicated technology, and if you use the mySugr Logbook app, your imported blood sugar values will be automatically synchronized! How amazing is that?!?
Another amazing mySugr app is the mySugar coach app! This app provides a revolutionary in-app one-on-one diabetes coaching with information and advice from highly trained Certified Diabetes Educators. The mySugr’s Head Coach is Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE. Gary is the author of “Think Like a Pancreas” and was AADE’s 2014 Diabetes Educator of the Year. The app user can simply enter any request into the app and a thorough and personal response will be given within a single business day. A study conducted by ProSciento has found that the educator-led coaching seems to positively impact the sustainability of favorable changes in blood glucose levels and may even lead to additional longer-term improvements in glucose control.1
** Regarding the ProSciento sources used from the mysugr website there may be a conflict of interest that may have influenced the research conducted.
4. Kebede, M. M., & Pischke, C. R. (2019). Popular Diabetes Apps and the Impact of Diabetes App Use on Self-Care Behaviour: A Survey Among the Digital Community of Persons With Diabetes on Social Media. Frontiers in Endocrinology,10. doi:10.3389/fendo.2019.00135