Using a smart watch to help manage diabetes

I’ve worn an Apple Watch for several years now. But I’ve only recently started to use it to help manage timely treatment choices. So much of what we do to manage diabetes with insulin depends on timeliness.

Yet life competes for our attention and we are understandably distracted by job, family, and relationships. As a retired person who lives alone, I am still painfully aware of how easy it is to distract me from following through with insulin treatment intentions.

In the last few months I’ve started to use voice commands given to Siri on my watch to remind me to take some action later, often just five minutes later. I’ll set a five minute timer and then my watch will alarm with a simple tapping on my wrist cue.

This morning, for instance, I had taken an Afrezza dose but my glucose level was resisting coming down and I considered a follow-up Afrezza dose. I considered giving that additional Afrezza dose and thought, I should wait for another 5-10 minutes and see if it’s necessary.

In the past, I would just go ahead and take the second dose as it was front-of-mind right now and if I waited, I risked distraction and not doing it at all. In other words, I would think it’s better now than maybe never.

So, I asked Siri to set a five minute timer. Sure enough, my attention moved on to another issue and the tap on the first reminded me to look at my glucose again. It had dropped 4 mg/dL since I set the timer and showed me that I didn’t need another Afrezza dose. If I had taken that follow-up dose, I would have likely needed to avert a hypo later with glucose.

I’ve been wearing a smart watch for many years now yet I’m just starting to exploit its abilities. The unique strength of a smart watch is that it’s always with you, even more so than your smart phone. You set or respond to a reminder no matter where you are or what you are doing. I’m a little embarrassed that It’s taken me this long to appreciate an obvious benefit. Well, better late than never!

I encourage those who use this technology already to make use of it in your glucose management efforts.

Anyone else make use of smart-watch reminders every day to help with your diabetes management?

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I’ve worn a Garmin Fenix for the past few years and it’s great for activity tracking and prompting me to keep moving. It will show a phone alert if I’m going out if range. I would love to update it for one that allows on-wrist live CGM data from Dexcom but those are expensive.

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I think that the most used function on my Apple Watch is the timer. I have it on my Home Screen and tap it to select one of the preset times or set a custom time. Almost every time I pre bolus for a meal, I set a timer. One to stop me from eating too soon and probably more importantly to stop me from forgetting to eat. I tend to prefer to tap on the watch rather than tell Siri to do it.

@Laddie – What signals you of the timer’s end? Is it a sound or a tactile sensation? I might explore the timer function as Siri is sometimes a little slow to perform.

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I also use my Apple Watch to do this, and it’s been a great help;

Personally i use the Due app, i recommend checking it out if you want to use multiple timers :slight_smile:
(it’s not a subscription app by the way, buy once and you keep what you bought forever.)
You can set the timer alerts so they will keep going off indefinitely until you stop them. Also it can bypass the iPhone Focus mode if you configure it that way (sleep mode, Do Not Disturb and such.)

Is your Fenix a 6 or above there is a widget.
Connect IQ Store | Free Watch Faces and Apps | Garmin?
I have a Fenix 3HR in a drawer, but have an Apple Watch 6. I use the Garmin app to display BG on my Garmin Edge 1030 bike computer.

I haven’t used reminders so much for diabetes, but the watch is certainly part of self-management.

I have a Fossil Carlyle Gen 5 connected to the Dexcom 6 app, with the Dexcom watch face. Since I had to reset my phone recently, I used Wear Installer to get it back on the watch. Before that, I was using NightWatch, which in some ways I preferred, as it allowed me to use different watch faces, and still have easy but discreet access to my numbers. I use the Follow app on other devices, as does my spouse on hers.

I have multiple devices connected to my Google Fit data, a Withings Body+ scale, the Withings BPM Connect, and the Dexcom data from the G6, and from the watch I get sleep monitoring and my fitness/activity levels. All the data can be downloaded and manipulated via programming, which I do every couple of months, although it is not particularly informative.

Only recently have I gotten around to setting up modern home automation - back around the year 2000 I used an older technology for lighting - recently purchasing smart bulbs and outlets, as well as 2 Google Nest Minis. The latter were inexpensive and provided the freedom to experiment before I committed further. Overall, it has gone well, although I will still have to refine this to make it seamless.

I use the Nest Minis for some reminders, usually next-day tasks that are remembered just before bed, or things in the near future, since when I am working tend to focus heavily and easily forget about things around me. As for Terry’s question, my spouse suggested I set a reminder for my AM Lantus injection, as I forget it from time to time. It is very easy to use reminders on these devices, and it might become a more regular tool for some aspects of monitoring my health.

I get a vibration on my watch and no other sound with Timer alerts I set on the watch.

I have so many alerts that it’s just irritates me to no end.
If my sugar goes high, my dexcom ap gives a warning and my t connect goes then my pump and then my watch.

It’s over stimulation for me so I’ve silenced some of them.

I only want buzzes and alarms when I’m too low or too high.
Even with only that, I really hate it.

I essentially just use my watch for my glucose reading and trend and delta.

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My husband is the one with T1D and he wears a Tandem t-slim. He also has dementia so I am involved a lot with his management. We set his iPhone watchface so his blood sugar shows up on his watch. It’s handy for him and me both. If we need more info we look at his pump. These watches are amazing!

Alarm fatigue is a real thing. The issue that I raise in this thread, however, is using the simple timer app on my Apple Watch to enhance diabetes management and not irritate it. Setting a short 5-15 minute timer and feeling the vibration on your wrist is much different, from my perspective, than hearing a jarring alarm at seemingly random times.

Bless you for taking on such a kind role! Your husband is lucky to have you in his life.

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I am just like you. I take my insulin and than get distracted and you know what happens!
I don’t have a smart watch but use my timer on my phone all the time when I pre bolus. And if after 15 minutes I am not at a good number, I set another timer for 5-10 minutes.
When I’m at home I sometimes use the oven timer as my reminder.
But once I take my insulin, I need some kind of alert. Otherwise, I forget and end up in trouble!
So whatever “tech” you can use to help, go for it. One day, I will probably make to jump to more tech but right now, my phone alarms is as high tech as I get on that one. Although, I am I guess pretty “techy” with my CGM and insulin pump that taken much of my daily workload off my plate! Tech can be a good friend!

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I use a fitbit ionic watch, and with xDrip, display cgm bg and gragh/trend. I use Glance watchface, which provides custom settings for high/low and other alerts. The watch vibrates for alerts, which has been very helpful. Android Phone with xDrip needs to be in range.

I think fitbit versa can do same.

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Last night, my G6 was giving me problems, inconsistent and very low readings, so much so that I ripped it off. When I got back in bed, I wanted to say “OK Google, remind me at 8 AM to set a calendar event to reorder sensors” but didn’t, as my spouse was sleeping. Still, shows it’s usefulness.

Also, I think with the G7 coming, it brings with it a new service that enables more devices to show the numbers, resulting in more and cheaper devices to show blood sugar.

I’ve also heard either Dexcom CEO Kevin Sayer or COO Jake Leach say, more than once, that Dexcom can “see” an early sensor failure due to the continuous data collection from our sensors that feeds their servers. They could, this official speculated, automatically send their customer a replacement sensor without a request even being made. We need to push this idea!

We’re all feeding Dexcom tons of data. Data is valuable and, as a user, I’d like to accrue more benefit from that data contribution. I’m sure we’ve all checked a lawyerly box or otherwise acknowledged that Dexcom can use “our” data. I’d like to see a sweeter deal for us.

These high tech data reminders are valuable. Our challenge is to learn how to exploit them. Making new habits requires some effort on our part. It gets harder as one ages. Great use of tech to treat diabetes, James!

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I use Tandem pump as “receiver” and xDrip/T:Connect on phone, so I don’t think dexcom gets my data !!
May need Tandem to initiate the need for new sensor to Dexcom, if setup for upload to web T:Connect.

The newest Wear OS 3 for all Android watches is coming out later in 2022 (spring or summer) and is already on Samsung’s Galaxy 4 so fairly soon, you can have the CGM data on most watches including FitBit which was bought by Google and will be moved into the smartwatch world. To install and use Dexcom CGM on your smartwatch now, see Malcolm Bryant on YouTube: Wear Installer: how to install the Dexcom G6 app to your WearOS watch - YouTube

I don’t think it’s the fact that Dexcom has data, but with any company collecting our data, they could find ways of improving our life, seamlessly.

Some basic ideas, nothing truly noteworthy, but…

  • If a sensor malfunctions, it could email the user and find out the reason.
  • If it’s a defect, replace it.
  • If it senses a pattern, it can email us about it.
  • It could integrate with other sources and based on that send tips or suggestions.
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I don’t know the answer to that question but I would be surprised if Dexcom’s servers aren’t more involved than your understanding. It’s a good question, however!

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