Glucose Tracker Apps for your iPhone

Glucose Tracker Apps for your iPhone

Technology to help you manage your diabetes

When I went into the doctor's to see my endocrinologist on Friday, I was shocked to find that my A1c had climbed from its usual 6.9-7.1 range to 7.7.  It hasn't been that high since I was diagnosed!  I knew I hadn't been very good about monitoring my blood sugars lately, but I didn't think it had been that high.

Luckily my doctor is pretty understanding.  He says most diabetics go through periods where they need to take a "vacation" from keeping tabs on their diabetes as closely.  That's what the quarterly doctor's visits are for, really -- to keep you in check and reset your habits when needed.

So I came home very energized and ready to take better care of myself.  I have an app on my iPhone for tracking blood sugar, insulin doses, carb intake, and exercise -- I haven't used it in ages, but I decided to start using it again.  Unfortunately, although there are some things I like about the app, there are other areas where I feel it is lacking.  It's been a long time since I downloaded the app, though, so I figured there must be more options out there now -- and sure enough, there are, so I downloaded a couple to try in comparison.

Glucose Buddy - This is the original app that I've been using for a few years.  It's a comprehensive diabetes tracker, by which I mean that it doesn't only track blood sugar -- you can also record how many grams of carbs you eat, how much insulin you take, and when you exercise.  It was free when I downloaded it, way back when, but there are several upgrades (none of which I have) that you have to pay for.

Unfortunately, the app has a serious weakness, in that there is no way to view this information comprehensively.  I really wanted an app that would show me a line graph of my blood sugar throughout the day, preferrably with a mark to show where I ate, took insulin, or exercised.  Glucose Buddy only shows a graph of average, high, and low blood sugars from day to day, with a bar to indicate carb intake.

Blood Sugar Tracker - I really wanted to like this free, simple app.  It is by far the easiest app I've found to enter your blood sugar into -- when you open the app, it goes right to the main page, where you can type in your blood sugar and save the log within seconds.  You can also view and email your log history, and see a graph of your average daily blood sugar over a week, two weeks, three months, six months, or a year.

The app is supposed to allow you to set your target blood sugar range, so that you can see how many of your values fall into that range, but it won't work for me -- every time I tap the "More" tab to set it up, the app crashes.  That, to me, is the most significant flaw.  It's also worth noting that the app doesn't offer the one-day graph of actual blood sugars, the sort of graph that I most want, and also that it doesn't track anything other than blood sugar.

Blood Pal - At just 99 cents, this app wasn't very expensive, and so far I like its features quite a bit.  It allows you to view line graphs of one day, one week, one month, and one year's worth of blood glucose logs.  It also has a handy bar graph, using the same time period choices, that shows you how many of your blood sugar logs fall into four different ranges: below 79.1, 79.2 to 138.6, 138.7 to 199.8, and over 199.9.  This enables you to see, at a glance, how many of your blood sugars fall into the low, normal, slightly high, and really high categories.

Unfortunately, it's not a perfect app.  My biggest complaint is the system for adding a log -- unlike Blood Sugar Tracker, once the app opens you have to tap the "add log" button (a plus sign), but more importantly, you have to use a scroll wheel to select your blood sugar, rather than typing it in.  The wheel is always set at your last blood sugar, so if you were crashing last time you checked and now you are over 300 (or vice versa), it can take a lot of swiping to get to the right value.  Also, I do wish I could enter in other things, such as carb intake and exercise.

I'll probably end up using the Blood Pal app, and supplement with the Glucose Buddy when I find I need to track the additional stuff -- unless I can find one single app that does the job of both!  Have you found any smartphone apps that help you to manage your diabetes better?