Smartphones And Diabetes – Time To Make The Change?

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Almost everyone across the globe has either shifted to or is thinking of shifting to a smartphone from their regular phones. Their ease of use, the variety of different functions, thousands of useful apps and (dare we not mention!) the ability to take ‘selfies’ has made this a piece of technology that we for some reason cannot seem to live without.

So, some bright minds decided to take our obsession with smart phones and add in a functionality that will help those of us with diabetes take charge of the illness by monitoring blood glucose levels through just that – a smartphone app!

Let’s take a brief look at how smartphones have changed the way patients and doctors manage diabetes these days.

Glucose monitoring

Glucose monitoring devices such as the Aina blood glucose monitoring system have now changed glucose monitoring to a simple ‘plug in and check’ system. These devices are very similar to the glucometers that used to be available to us, but they have the convenience of being able to attach to the headphone port in the phone.

These devices come with their own apps that not only allow you to check your sugars; you could also check parameters such as average glucose levels and cholesterol levels if you wish.

But are they really better than the regular glucometers?

In a study that looked at HbA1c control between smartphone based glucose monitor users and regular glucose monitoring, researchers found that the A1c values reduced significantly in those who were happy with the use of the device. However, in those who were less satisfied, the A1c level remain unchanged.

There were a number of reasons why people remained unsatisfied. Some reasons included data mismatch during uploading, network errors and data transfer delays. Difficulty in using was cited in minimal number of cases.

What does this mean? Tech savvy folk who love their smartphone can get better control of their blood sugars using an app based glucose monitor that attached to their phones.

Text messaging

A lot of these services have associated benefits, such as memberships into groups or programs that provide health messages through SMS to the individuals phones. It appears that patients who receive these messages are a lot more likely to be compliant with their medication.

In other words, blood sugar control can improve significantly.

Requirements of a good app based glucose monitoring unit

When choosing the right device, make sure it is convenient to use, is reasonably priced and is fun to use. The design should be attractive and you should be able to carry it around easily.

The app must be able to keep tab of your sugars, and provide you with a trend graph that you can show your doctor.

Devices that come with an educational component are a lot better than ones just check the blood sugar. For example, the Aina glucose monitor from JanaCare comes with a free ‘Habits’ program service – an educational service to keep patients informed and to empower them.

Closing remarks

Diabetes management is mostly in the hands of the patient. Make sure you take control using a reliable device and your smart phone.

 

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Dr Vivek Baliga B

Dr Vivek Baliga B

Consultant Internal Medicine at Baliga Diagnostics Pvt Ltd
Dr Baliga is a consultant in Internal Medicine with an interest in diabetes and cardiovascular disease. He received his training in the United Kingdom where he completed his post graduate training and his doctorate. He then completed his MBA from University of Phoenix, USA. He has completed the post graduate program in Cardiology from Johns Hopkins University and participated in the Advanced Certificate Course in Diabetes from the Cleveland Clinic, USA. He is the managing partner of Baliga Diagnostics, Bangalore. He is also the founder of HeartSense and is a keen advocate of patient empowerment, having written almost every article on this website and more. In his spare time, he enjoys running and spending time with his son. Find Dr Vivek Baliga on LinkedIn here - http://heartsense.in/linkedin.
Dr Vivek Baliga B
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