Using Smartwatches to Manage Diabetes
We are in the world of technology. For some of us, getting on board with tech gadgets is exciting, while others may resist taking on the newest item on the market.
In the world of diabetes, technology is here to stay as engineers develop more new and improved ways to manage diabetes. We will talk about how smartwatches may be helpful for diabetes management and if a smartwatch can track blood sugar.
Questions to ask yourself
Before diving into the details of all the available smartwatches and their features, consider cost, value, and function. Ask yourself:
- Why are you interested in this device?
- Will you use the device daily?
- Does this device have similar features that are already offered by your phone?
- Are you comfortable using tech gadgets, or will it add stress?
- Do you wear a continuous glucose monitor that can sync to a smartwatch?
- Is this device in your budget?
Reviewing the functions of smartwatches
Overall, the more functions a smartwatch offers, the more it will cost. My watch gets text messages, calls, and blood glucose information by syncing with my phone. Getting these functions independent of your phone requires a separate contract with your mobile provider and the associated monthly fees.
Many smartwatches come with standard functions across many different brands of devices. Some smartwatches also offer the capability to track blood sugar.
Apple Watch Series 6
The Apple Watch Series 6 has the "standard" functionalities for monitoring health, including tracking your physical activities. It can measure your steps, bike rides, hikes, yoga, and swims, to name a few. This smartwatch also measures sleep quality, oxygen saturation and even has an electrocardiogram feature to measure electrical activity in your heart. The Apple Watch also can be linked with the Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitoring System (CGM), so you can see your blood sugar readings right on your phone.
Other smartwatches that track blood sugar
Many other smartwatches on the market will do the same functions as the Apple Watch, except for measuring your oxygen saturation levels and electrocardiogram. In addition to the Apple Watch, the Fossil Generation 5 smartwatch is rated as the best Android watch for Dexcom CGM.
Currently, I don't think the Freestyle Libre CGMs will sync with smartwatches. Other top contenders of best smartwatches compatible with Dexcom CGM to track blood sugar are:
- Fitbit models including Versa, Versa Lite, and Sense
- Garmin models including the Fenix
How smartwatches can help you
Using smartwatches deliver helpful information that you can use right on your wrist. The data can be beneficial as a motivator to move your body more and keep track of your exercise routine. Smartwatches' other functions are calendar alerts, email alerts, text messages, and phone capabilities.
There are many downloadable applications (apps) for smartwatches. These apps can offer you more health data, such as an immediate review of your real-time blood glucose level. Getting real-time instantaneous blood glucose readings can help you problem-solve as needed and better control blood sugar.
Personal experiences with a smartwatch
Before using a smartwatch, I wasn't sure how long I truly slept soundly through the night. I started using the sleep tool on my smartwatch combined with a sleep app to measure my sleep habits and sleep quality. It has been helpful to see my patterns of sleep.
I appreciate having my glucose data on my watch, especially while involved with physical activity like bike riding or walking. Looking at my watch is much easier and safer than using my cell phone to get this information.
I hope this helps a little, but I'm no "techie." So, if you think you may be interested in the functionality of smartwatches, make sure you look over the options carefully to get what you want. The possibilities are almost endless!
Has diabetes changed your exercise routine?