Geeks and monitoring sugars, insulin and food intake

Hi guys,

Being new to this site, I figured this would probably be the best group to ask about what you guys use for actively monitoring your blood sugar readings, your insulin dose and what you eat??

Like most people I know in IT, I spend most of my time in a variety of meetings, with constant interuptions at my desk, and a very varied and unplanned day… often resulting in me not actively tracking my blood sugars, my insulin dosages and what I eat. I’ve therefore been searching to find a better solution, so I can easily keep track of this info and ultimately so I can better control my readings.

I’ve got a blackberry pearl, with access to my email and internet, so something which could allow me to quickly post to a site using my phone (not using Ajax), or by sending a quick email to a personalised blog style email address, which takes the info and adds to my database online. Alternatively was thinking of maybe buying an HP iPaq or something small which I could use my own excel spreadsheet, which I could then customise.

Not too keen on using one of the software solutions that come with blood sugar readers, as from what I’ve tried so far, it appears that you have to upload and knowing my busy day, it won’t happen unless I can send results and details there and then. Plus the blood sugar readers available in Australia seem a bit primative compared to the rest of the world.

Any tips, war stories or opinions therefore greatfully appreciated!

I don’t know much about the blackberry pearl, but why not set up a simple spreadsheet? Same as a log book, but on your pda. If you get that, you can later import that over to your desktop when you sync it, and then use some nice statistical tools to give you outputs the way you want. There are some nice free ones out there, or just write out the equasion and impliment it into excel. That is a good way to waste a few hours if you ask me, setting up the spreadsheet the way you want. From there, it would be REALLY easy to graph out your trends on carb consumption, insulin taken and then the resulting b/g levels.

I did a quick search, and there are a TON of excel add-ons for the blackberry. Why carry around 2 devices when one will do the job for you?

I use a (shareware) program called Palm Diabetic Diary. I’m happy with it so far.

I haven’t used many others (one other freeware program that I didn’t like much), but this one gives me what I need. There’s a diary, graphs for daily levels, daily averages, weekly levels and weekly averages. It has fields for entering medication (but I’m controlled by d+e so I’ve never used those) and I suggested adding exercise fields to the developer and he very kindly added in my suggestion (it’s a nice little ‘nag’/reminder field for me!).

I’m still looking for the best solution for me. The software that runs with my meter is okay, but it doesn’t do everything I want. I’ve figured out how to manually export the data (see my blog for that) at least so I can run it into excel and play with it now and then.

Sugar stats looks interesting, but filling in endless mini forms is just not something I can keep up. Unfortunately there isn’t a way yet to upload my meter results.

I have a feeling I’ll end up coding something myself eventually!

I use a very low tech approach. I find paper logs work better for me than software, and I’ve trained myself to NEVER give an insulin shot without writing it down with the time and dose. I often note what I ate or physical activity on the log if I end up with an unexpected result. I carry a small notebook in my purse for when I’m not by my log and enter the same information there.

It’s simple, but it works. The most important part is training myself to never use insulin without writing it down.

You should definitely checkout these two web sites: SugarStats.com and Calorie King. The Calorie King Nutrition and Exercise Manager is a food and exercise diary coupled with a large food database.

“SugarStats makes it simple to track, monitor and share your blood sugar levels and other key statistics to help you manage your diabetes online.” – SugarStats.com

SugarStats.com also provides a mobile version that you may use from your Blackberry. I wrote up a review here.

It may be a bit extreme but I carry around a MacBook on which I log my food intake into Calorie King and if I am near a WiFi hot spot I can update my BG info on SugarStats. I have to carry around all my diabetes supplies anyway.

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Khurt,

It occurs to me that one difference between me and many of the folks here is that I’ve had diabetes for so long that I’ve actually memorized the carb counts of just about any food I’d ever eat. That really helps.

I forget how tough it must be to someone who is new to this who doesn’t have a brain stuffed full of nutritional information! I spent a couple months at diagnosis carrying around a book and looking up everything, and many months logging what I ate into software, until the sheer obsessiveness of it got to me and I decided it was time to untether. But by then, I’d gotten to where I could look at a piece of food and have a pretty good idea what was in it carb-wise.

Eventually it does get programmed into the brain and you pretty much just look up the occasional thing you aren’t sure of. It’s not all that different from the way that a lot of us weekly grocery shoppers know the prices of all the stuff we usually buy well enough that if the clerk rings it up wrong we can catch it.

I use http://www.sugarstats.com, but I guess you could say I’m biased :slight_smile: But then again, it was created because I was asking many of the same questions as you above.

I used to have a blackberry too. Though I always have a browser open, when I’m not its easy for me to email in my readings/meds etc or use the mobile version on my phone. Twitter.com integration coming soon :slight_smile:

When it comes down to it I think for people like us on the go we have to make it as easy as possible and provide many options for input.

I started off with a custom Excel workbook long before I had a reasonable data uplink cable for my blood glucose meter. While I can work the basics with Co-Pilot, I really need something that will also accommodate daily weight, periodic blood pressure readings, and complete dietary and exercise information (not just “carbs” and “intense/moderate/duration”). Unfortunately, the online food database I was using went pffft when I wasn’t looking, there are a number of obvious errors in the USDA database, and none of the other online databases I’ve seen measure foods out in grams. (Do not trust volume equivalents, they are EXTREMELY variable!) So right now I’m a bit betwixt-and-between there as I take my downloaded version of SR20 and correct the errors. MS Access 2007 has a built-in nutrition database, but again the quantities are unusable and there are similar errors to the USDA database. Also, it does not allow for any health information other than weight and basic exercise info. I use PolarFitnessTrainer (online) and my Polar F6 watch to keep track of my exercise data.

When I am “offline”, I just copy the information onto a paper log and transcribe it when I get back to my Excel workbook.

Extremely inefficient, but it works for me.

BTW, the Excel workbook also has a spreadsheet to keep track of my lab readings, and a separate dietary-function spreadsheet as well as my general log.