Being newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can be scary news for you. Although you will get assistance and information from your physician and diabetes educator, they cannot be available to you all the time, so self-management and the ability to obtain information on your own are crucial to helping you be happy and healthy as a person with diabetes. Technology has come to the rescue with many smartphone apps (for Apple iOS, Android and BlackBerry devices); however, how do you decide which one is best for you? Are there options other than just smartphone apps?
I learned about mySugr, an app and web ecosystem for managing type 2 diabetes, by watching a compelling TED Talk by one of mySugr’s co-founders, Frederick Debong. What made the talk so interesting and convincing was how Debong talked about his personal experiences with type 1 diabetes.
There are two versions of the app: mySugr Logbook and mySugr Junior. mySugr Logbook is for adults, while the Junior version is for parents to help a child manage his or her diabetes. Once downloaded, a quick and simple process to register for a free account gets you up and running immediately, allowing you to configure the app for your region, meter and insulin settings and carb units. You can also enter the type of meds you are using or the way in which you deliver insulin to your body (MDI, pump, etc.). Basal settings can also be added. In essence, it is a complete view of your personalized settings. Both the Logbook and Junior versions of the app are available for iOS (via the iTunes Store) and Android devices (via Google Play Store).
There is also a Pro version of mySugr. The Pro version adds the ability to export your data not only to PDF but also to Excel formats. Also included are challenges, reminders, the ability to synchronize your data across multiple devices and platforms, and more. It is a very robust solution that will give you peace of mind after your diagnosis.
Diabetes Academy for Monster Tamers
So why use mySugr instead of any of the dozens of diabetes apps currently available? The answer is simple: mySugr Diabetes Academy for Monster Tamers. This unique system is comprised of ten interactive and self-paced modules that teach you how to understand and manage the major aspects of type 2 diabetes.
Each module includes videos, articles, and interactive challenges. There is a progression of required exercises that must be completed before moving on to the next module. For example, the first module, “What is Diabetes” is an introduction to your life with diabetes and what it really is presented in a fun video. As you complete each exercise or task, you earn points for each activity within each module, just as if you were taking a quiz in a classroom.
After watching the video (and earning 150 points), scroll down the page to see the next group of tasks in the module. There are tips (50 points each), which are short articles (2 minutes reading time) that address specific questions related to the disease, for example, “how did I get diabetes?”
Once you’ve read the tips (and collected points), next come the Active Challenges. In the first module, for example, one challenge asks you to create a daily log of your blood glucose readings, carbohydrate intake, meals, insulin management (if appropriate), activities, your blood pressure and in great detail. I found this interactive tutorial-style method to be a lot of fun, simple to follow and a great way to learn. Some of the challenges can be completed quickly, others require you to follow the requirements over the course of a few days. You must enter the specified information into your profile before proceeding, and the software knows when you’re done, allowing you to move to the next challenge or program.
As with many fitness monitoring apps, mySugr also sends a weekly email update with your progress report. Just as expected, it is in the same light and fun vein as the program itself. You see a comparison of how you’re doing compared to others, including Mr. Debong, links to interesting videos, and other useful information. This will goad you to do more, and to ensure that you are keeping yourself in shape for life with type 2.
There is trial version of the Diabetes Academy, which gives you access to the first two modules (academies). To complete the entire program, it requires a paid membership that can be purchased on the mySugr website.
In addition to the academy, mySugr has a support team comprised of technical support representatives who themselves are people with diabetes. This means they understand your questions better than a non-diabetic, and you may even get a response from Fredrik Debong himself! My experience with the support group has been nothing short of outstanding.
I highly recommend mySugr and the mySugr Diabetes Academy for Monster Tamers for anyone wanting a beautifully designed, easy to use application that has a superb, fun and educational interface for managing his or her type 2. And from what I can tell, more great features will be added in the near future!