Diabetes Self-Management Articles

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Virtual Diabetes Management
Programs and Devices to Meet Your Needs

by John Hughes

Coheso offers a proprietary handheld computer called the Track3 to help with diabetes management. It allows users to record blood glucose levels, food intake, physical activity, and drug doses. Also included is a nutrition database of more than 50,000 foods, including the offerings of 250 restaurants and 500 food brands.

Rewards programs
Some health insurance companies offer Internet-based rewards programs as an incentive to be more health-conscious. One program, for example, offers enrollees a list of activities associated with a healthier lifestyle, such as exercise, weight loss, and tobacco cessation. Each activity is worth a certain number of points, and once you collect enough, you can redeem them for a gift certificate to stores such as Amazon, Best Buy, or Blockbuster.

A similar program is HealthPrize, by HealthPrize Technologies. This Web-based software lets users record when they take prescribed drugs to track compliance; it is offered by many employers and health insurance companies as a way to motivate individuals to take prescribed drugs as directed. There is also a HealthPrize iPhone app that syncs with the online software. Users receive points for taking medicines regularly and, as in many insurers’ awards programs, can spend these points at an online shopping mall.

Meal-planning help
Many software programs exist to help people with diabetes track the nutrient content of meals. GoMeals from Sanofi-aventis allows users to search for thousands of foods and menus from popular grocery stores and restaurants, giving the calorie count as well as information on fat, protein, and carbohydrate for each. The program uses the CalorieKing nutrition database, which contains more than 25,000 common foods and menu items from more than 200 restaurants, as well as a restaurant locator. GoMeals is available for the iPhone and for Android.

CalorieKing Nutrition and Exercise Manager is designed to help users achieve weight loss by keeping track of calories consumed in meals and burned through exercise. It follows the same concept as the online CalorieKing program, which requires a membership account; Nutrition and Exercise Manager, by contrast, is a stand-alone computer program. It supports up to five users per computer, and the included food database is updated automatically. The personal profiling feature lets you know how many calories you need each day to reach or maintain your desired body weight. Versions are available for Mac, Windows, and Palm OS devices.

Carb Master, an iPhone app, helps keep track of your daily intake of carbohydrate as well as fat, protein, and calories. There is a diabetes feature that lets you keep track of blood glucose levels, insulin doses, and exercise. This information can be viewed in chart form and compared with target levels that you set.

Exercise help
DailyCoach, a product of Quantia-Care, is a free app that provides daily tips and suggestions for getting more physical activity. It was developed by certified diabetes educator Gary Scheiner, a frequent contributor to Diabetes Self-Management magazine, and is available on a number of platforms. Each tip is delivered via voice, text, and images, and most tips take about a minute to listen to.

Diabetes education for children
There are lots of software programs that offer diabetes education, both for home computer and for the iPhone. Savvy Knowledge Systems has created Type 1 Diabetes in Children: A Passport to Knowledge. This Windows-based program both entertains and educates children using animated videos and interactive content, helping them understand how diabetes works. It also deals with how to control diabetes and its complications.

An educational app for the iPhone is Carb Counting with Lenny from Medtronic. This app has a guide showing nutritious food choices with common serving sizes and corresponding carbohydrate values. Children can learn to count carbohydrates through interactive games with Lenny the Lion, who is a global ambassador for children’s diabetes education.

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Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.



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