Let’s just admit one truth – record keeping is the bane of T1D life. Shots and pricks and site changes are a pain, but they’re what keep you alive. Keeping accurate records often feels like an UNnecessary evil. When you’ve been dealing with T1D long enough, you become confident enough in your carb counting and dosage calculation that it just doesn’t feel worth it to add writing every little thing down… at least that’s been my experience.
Part of my frustration has been that, with all the technological capabilities at our fingertips, it seems that there is no one app, website, or program that really covers all the bases. Of course, some are better than others and, used in tandem, can be rather helpful.
Please keep in mind that my review is very biased and entirely my own opinion. I have not been paid by any of these companies to review their products, I simply want to share my experience with my fellow diabetics!
I have been on injections for 5 years (previously used an OmniPod pump) and have used a Dexcom G5 CGM for the past 7 months. Not having a pump has definitely changed how I keep records and made it that much more important since I don’t have a handy device that centralizes all my data. I would certainly recommend the OmniPod for anyone considering a pump or thinking of switching to one. The convenience of tubeless sites and customizable settings that calculate dosage based on the carbs and BG that you enter – among other things – however, the system can be expensive if your insurance doesn’t cover it fully and I had a lot of trouble with my sites bruising and bleeding because I didn’t have enough subcutaneous tissue.
The apps I describe below are only a few of many, however they seem to be the most user friendly and comprehensive. Feel free to share your own experiences, questions, or request other reviews in the comments!
I absolutely love my Dexcom system, but there are definitely a lot of things on my wishlist for future updates to the app. I use the app on my iPhone instead of the provided receiver because it would be just down right silly to have to carry around yet another thing if I don’t have to. The visual representation of blood sugars is very intuitive, however any other data is rather inconvenient to access after 24 hours. Even the reports from Dexcom Clarity don’t show reported carbohydrates, exercise, or insulin with the respective daily charts other than a tiny icon on the charts. Because of this I don’t even bother to use the app to log most of the time.
- The simplistic and user friendly design.
- The Dexcom Share App – absolutely fantastic. My husband has it and is especially handy for nighttime lows or when my phone is on silent at work. Every once in a while I get a text from him warning me that my sugar is rising. This would have been a dream as a kid when I was first learning too and I’m sure it is wonderful as parents with T1D kiddos.
- Clarity also allows you to share an access code with your provider so they can log in any time and see your data.
- The ability to view log entries for carbs, insulin, and exercise within the app.
- Specific quantifiable data associated with date in Clarity for carbs, insulin, and exercise.
- The option to specify time periods for alarms – such as a low alert that goes off when BG is below 90 between 11pm and 7am but doesn’t go off until below 70 between 7am and 10pm.
- The ability to make notes regarding specific log entries, this would allow you to specify what you ate when entering carbs, why you took a little more or less insulin than normal, or record what type of workout you did. All of these things can be important to know when looking at trends for the purpose of correcting your regimen. Maybe certain foods are spiking your sugar more than normal or maybe swimming drops your sugar more than biking.
- Similar to the previous, but also being able to make notes and record questions for your endocrinologist on the Dexcom Clarity reports somehow would also be great!
I love the interface of this app and that it’s compatible with Apple Health. Because of this I can actually import my blood sugar data from my Dexcom app to Apple Health and then to Diabetes Kit – a little round about but it gets there with a 3 hour delay. The logging options are wonderful, but it’s all added separately instead of just filling out whats needed all on one page. It also has some pretty great graphing features and counts your steps – although if you don’t carry your phone with you at all times that wouldn’t really be accurate.
- Trends reporting within the app tracks some very helpful statistics including, my favorite, a line graph that shows glucose and insulin hourly averages.
- Real-time data sharing via a unique URL created through the app.
- App connect options with Fitbit and Dexcom directly
- Ability to enter several different types of data at the same time
- A more condensed view of the log and ability to search and filter the log
This is by far the most useful and convenient resource for carb counting EVER. The only downside is that they still don’t have an app for Android users which is just so unfair – sorry guys. But they do have a great website!
- Ease of search ability
- Comprehensive nutritional data
- Ability to change the serving unit
- Variety of preparation options for each food
- Ability to save commonly eaten foods
- Ability to scan and add new foods
This app seems to be a lot more geared toward Type 2 users, especially when logging insulin. My least favorite thing about this app is that the carb entry is made rather complicated by requiring you to select certain foods from their database rather than just entering the amount of carbs counted and some notes about what you ate. You can create foods and recipes but either way the process for tracking carbs has too many hoops if you ask me. Otherwise it has all the nuts and bolts but it’s not the best for type 1 users in my opinion.
- Great exercise tracking feature that allows you to pick a start time, type of exercise, duration, and write down any notes about the workout which is always handy!
- If you want to be meticulous about meal tracking, this is the app for you. While it takes a bit longer to do, entering specific foods allows the app to give you a daily nutrients summary which is pretty nifty.
- This app also has a rather extensive “learn” section with lots of information – but again it’s entirely geared toward people with Type 2.
- Lets you customize target ranges and goals – but again there isn’t the option to enter insulin dosages.
- Needs a similar version or customization options to make it more user friendly for Type 1 users! Need to be able to track insulin in units, have information in the learn section that is geared toward type 1, and the ability to enter data for bolus and correction doses in the settings.
- When I’m in a rush I just want to enter a number for carbs. Maybe I’m just lazy but going through and picking every single food is sometimes just a little too over the top.
- Add reports that show blood sugar trends PLEASE.
I’m personally a little too OCD for this app, but I think it would be great for kids! It makes a game out of logging, giving you points for every entry. Unfortunately to get reports you have to pay for either monthly or annual pro membership. The pro membership also offers coaching from a CDE, which is an interesting feature, but I haven’t personally tried it out. This is definitely one of the most comprehensive apps that I have found, however I would recommend biting the bullet and going for the pro membership to really get the best use out of it.
- Tons of logging options! (some not available in the free version though)
- Ability to set reminders when making an entry
- Separate log fields for long lasting insulin, food insulin, and correction insulin
- Description fields for notes
- Simplify, simplify, simplify. This is entirely an opinion but I am not a fan of the user interface of this app. You do have the ability to customize which fields appear and in what order when making a new entry, but I prefer a more clean cut look to the funky display mySugr sports.
- The website does allow you to import your CGM date monthly… but I selfishly want my Dexcom app to sync with this app automatically. 🙂
Well there you have it! My unadulterated opinion of a variety of record keeping resources for my fellow type 1 diabetics, but it’s all about the best fit for you. You want to be able to track data that will help you, view your data for future reference, and have an interface that makes sense.