By Justin Bennet
According to the American Diabetes Association, 1.5 million people are diagnosed with diabetes every year, 84.1 million Americans are considered prediabetic, and diabetes is in the top 10 causes of death in the US. These are alarming statistics, which can be unsettling if you have diabetes. However, living with a chronic condition in the 21st century means that you have access to technology and information that wasn’t available even as recently as the 1990s.
Smart Tech for Diabetics
Technology has done so much for medicine. There are now robots that can assist with surgery and devices you can wear to monitor everything from your heart rate to how much you sleep at night. Apple’s Series 4 smartwatch, for example, can output an ECG directly on the screen. It will also let you call for help via an emergency SOS function if you get into a bad situation.
Perhaps more importantly, this and other fitness trackers, such as the Fitbit, can help you keep tabs on your exercise routine by counting your steps and calculating your average active time each day. Knowing how much movement you get is paramount to keeping your body fit and healthy. Exercise, according to EndocrineNet, can help you manage your blood glucose levels.
Technology can go one step further by allowing you to take your exercise routines with you no matter where you are. Apps such as MyFitnessPal and 8Fit can encourage you to make healthy exercise choices, and they can also help you monitor what you eat, which is another crucial element related to diabetes management.
Your Actions Matter
While technology can give you the tools to take control of your health, ultimately, it is your actions that direct the path of your well-being.
A few things you can do to stay healthy are:
- Maintain a relationship with your doctor. Your primary care provider will likely be the one to diagnose you with diabetes. Once the condition is established, they will refer you to an endocrinologist, who may work at an independent office, the hospital, or at a diabetes care center. Make sure to keep your appointments with both, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about caring for yourself. If you have yet to find an endocrinologist, sites like HealthGrades can help you make an informed decision.
- Exercise and eat right. We’ve already mentioned how technology can help you exercise and eat right, but both of these deserve special emphasis. When you have diabetes, it is not enough to simply eat the right foods; you also have to avoid the wrong ones. Things like white bread, French fries, and sports drinks might seem innocent enough, but they can send your blood sugar skyrocketing while expanding your waistline. You’ll also want to enhance your diet with diabetes-safe supplements to help you manage your weight and keep it within an acceptable range. Nutrition is what gives your body the energy to function, and adding polyphenols and other lesser-known nutrients to your daily intake is an important step in managing your condition.
- Take your medicine on time. If your doctor has put you on a prescription for your diabetes, it’s important to take it at the same time every day. This is another area where technology can enhance your self-care efforts via medication reminder apps. Pharmacist Christina Tarantola lists several of her favorites and also cautions that around half of all prescriptions are taken incorrectly.
When it comes to diabetes management, technology can get you halfway there. However, what you choose to do with it and the lifestyle decisions you make mean the difference between living with your condition and letting your condition rule your life.