Top 5 tools you need to simplify how you do diabetes

Top 5 tools you need to simplify how you do diabetes

This blog post was written in partnership with Omnipod Australia.

Before you roll your eyes and click away in a huff because you can’t afford/aren’t interested in the latest fancy hybrid closed-loop artificial pancreas whatever – this is NOT one of those articles.

There’s something in here for everyone, whether you love yourself a bit of tech, or you’re more into reliable-as-hell finger pricks and manual blood glucose logbooks. No judgement here! You do diabetes the way you want. And the way you can.

Wherever you’re at with your diabetes, here are some interesting tools that might help make life a bit easier.

1. mySugr app 

Got a smartphone? Check out the mySugr app. It’s great for tracking meals and blood glucose levels, and for when you can’t for the life of you calculate your boluses accurately. 

Here’s why it’s awesome:

  • The tagline is ‘make diabetes suck less’. (We can all get behind that.)
  • The interface is lovely, easy to use, and great for visualising your levels.
  • You can sync a CGM or pump to the app for easier management and cross-referencing.
  • It offers insights and suggestions to improve your management. For example, it will tell you if it’s noticing regular hypers at night.
  • It estimates a HbA1c based on your blood glucose logs.
  • THE BEST BIT: You can input your blood glucose level, add the carbs you’re about to eat, and it calculates your bolus for you. (Taking into account your insulin onboard, yaaaas!)

The only downside is that setting up the app is a bit intensive, especially if your insulin requirements fluctuate across the day. But, it's worthwhile taking the time to sit with your endocrinologist and work through the setup process. 

Some of the fancier features (like the bolus calculator) also come with a cost – the PRO version is $4.49 per month. But it’s a small price to pay to take insulin maths off your hands IMO.

2. Omnipod Dash System

There’s a new tubeless insulin pump in town, and the Pods are even on the NDSS.

The Omnipod Dash® System is a tubeless, simple, and discreet insulin pump which delivers insulin via a Pod, a small, tubeless, waterproof device that you fill with insulin and wear directly on your body. You can then deliver your insulin using the Omnipod DASH® Personal Diabetes Manager, or PDM, which is a smartphone-like device that communicates with the pod via secure Bluetooth. 

Here’s what it’s boasting:

  • Tubeless design (fear door handles no more)
  • Customisable basal rates and bolus options
  • Wireless control using the ‘PDM’ (personal diabetes manager)
  • Simple tracking and recording of data to identify diabetes patterns and trends with your clinician
  • Pods are waterproof up to 7.6 metres for 60 minutes (read: shower and swim friendly!)

Let’s talk price. Omnipod Dash Pods are now listed on the NDSS, meaning they’re subsidised for all type one’s. You’ll need roughly one box of Pods each month, sitting at $29.30 for most people. You’ll also need to pay an additional monthly cost to Insulet for use of the Omnipod Dash system which is covered by some health insurers, or comes in at $168.27 every 30 days. 

Top tip: Until 31 December 2023, the team at Omnipod Australia are offering access to the Omnipod DASH system for only $90 for your first 90 days saving $414.81 - bargain!

It may seem steep, but when you compare this cost to other insulin pumps on the market, it’s a much, much easier pill to swallow!

3. Diabetes Tracker app

Based on this app’s positive reviews, it’s one to check out too! 

On Android, it’s called Diabetes & Diet Tracker, and it’s rated 4.4.

On the Apple Store it’s called Diabetes Tracker by MyNetDiary, and it’s rated 4.7.

What people love about this app:

  • It’s a great place to condense your diabetes info in one place.
  • It can sync with a Fitbit or Apple Watch – so cool!
  • There’s a feature that allows you to scan barcodes to get dietary information easily. (We love easy!)
  • You can access recipes and in-depth nutrition information on foods.
  • You can log medicines and information about other health conditions as well as your diabetes management.
  • You can easily access charts and data to take to your medical appointments – so your endo thinks you’re a total data badass.

The app is quite diet-focused, so it requires a bit of work to input your meals and food information. It may not be for you if you don’t care about that stuff and just want a simple way to track your blood glucose levels. A subscription is $8.99/month or $59.99/year.

4. Diabetic Health Journal

Remember when you were first diagnosed with diabetes, and your educator sent you home with one of those little log books to manually write down your BGLs? Well this is kinda like that, but on steroids.

The Diabetic Health Journal is a beautiful hardback book designed by Lauren Bongiorno, a US-based diabetic health coach and fellow T1D. It’s somewhat annoying to access this cool journal in Australia, but you can get it via Amazon for $49.55 AUD + shipping. A bit steep, yes. But journal nuts might be willing to fork that out.

Here’s why it’s great:

  • It’s preeeeeetty! (Not like those garish logbooks. But props to you if you are still using those.)
  • There’s space to log your BGLs, meals, goals and emotions. Which is awesome because diabetes management isn’t always about numbers – it’s sometimes about staying calm (or not going insane).
  • The diary spans three months and encourages you to set goals for your diabetes management and gradually work towards them.
  • There’s an advice section packed with tips for management.

We love that it’s created by a fellow diabetic and backed by research. The focus on goal-setting and tracking mental health is SO important, and something that lots of tracking systems fail to consider.

5. Genteel Lancing Device

Some of you in the Stripped Supply community swear by this sweet piece of diabetes tech! Whether you’re a dedicated finger pricker, or just rely on the occasional prick for a ketone test, you’ll know how painful it can be. But this thing genuinely doesn’t hurt. It’s so easy to use and mess-free.

Here’s why it’s a friend to diabetics:

  • It can be used anywhere on the body (palm, knee, calf, wrist) to give your poor fingertips a break.
  • It doesn’t hurt! For real! It uses vacuum, vibration and depth control to draw blood from a super shallow site, without touching those deeper pain nerves.

While a bit pricey ($129 eek!), it's a great investment if you’re over finger pricking. The key is to change your lancet frequently, otherwise the pain-free aspect doesn’t hold up. You can purchase it online from WANTSA Medical.

So there you go – some cool tools for managing diabetes. A lot of these are pretty easy to access and try out. And why not if it might help make life a bit easier?

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