Diabetes management includes monitoring and managing blood glucose levels. This is done by controlling diet and knowing how foods affect blood sugar.
For many people with diabetes, it also involves taking medications that help manage blood sugar levels.
Current diabetes apps allow patients to enter data and provide feedback on improved management.
They can provide low cost, interactive and dynamic health promotion by allowing patients to track medications, set reminders, plan meals, find recipes and plan for doctor’s appointments and blood tests.
In a systematic review of 14 previous studies, researchers analyzed diabetes conditions in 1,360 patients.
They found that patients who used an app had a reduction in average blood glucose levels compared to those who did not use apps.
The analysis also showed that younger patients were more likely to report a benefit from app using. No evidence was found to support the use of apps in type 1 diabetes, but further research is needed to substantiate this.
Researchers from Cardiff University suggest that with the number of patients globally with diabetes expected to rise to over 500m by 2030, there is an urgent need for better self-management tools.
Currently people are in an era where portable technology is increasingly used to improve lifestyles.
This can already be seen with physical activity technology, apps offers a large percentage of the world’s population a low cost and dynamic solution to type 2 diabetes management.
It is predicted that by the end of the decade, global usage of mobile phones will exceed 5 billion, so apps, used in combination with other self-management strategies, could form the basis of diabetes education and self-management.
Citation: Carter B, et al. (2016). Do Mobile Phone Applications Improve Glycemic Control (HbA1c) in the Self-management of Diabetes: A Systematic Review, Meta-analysis, and GRADE of 14 Randomized Trials. Diabetes Care, published online.
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