If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is time to take control of your blood sugar. Diabetes and high blood sugar (blood glucose) put you at risk for other chronic conditions, such as hypertension, heart disease, and stroke, as well as complications such as blindness and peripheral neuropathy. But with help that is as close as your smartphone, you can lower your blood sugar and slash risk for these and other diabetes-related problems. A diabetes coaching app can become your new best friend.
Controlling your blood sugar is about more than blind luck or seeing your doctor every so often. Hitting goal blood glucose values is in your hands. It can require anything or everything from taking meds and testing blood sugar, to losing weight, getting active, and eating healthy. An app such as Lark Health for Diabetes can help you with these every day.
Why a Diabetes Coaching App?
Simply put, any extra support you have in managing diabetes can help you lower blood sugar more effectively. Self-management takes a lot from you every day. The diabetes management plan that your doctor or diabetes care team is likely to include:
- Medication compliance.
- Blood sugar testing.
- Primary care and dental, vision, foot, and other medical appointments.
- Weight loss if you are carrying extra pounds.
- Physical activity.
- Monitoring carbohydrates and making other healthy diet choices.
Your primary care doctor, endocrinologist, a diabetes nurse, or other members of your diabetes care team may develop your diabetes plan, but they have only limited ability to help you carry it out. You may see your doctor only once every 3 to 6 months, or 2 to 4 times per year. What about the other 361 days of the year? It can sure help to have a diabetes coach in your corner to support you every single day as you manage your diabetes!
Roles of a Diabetes Coach
Research and common sense say that diabetes health coaches are known to improve patient outcomes and lower blood sugar. What do they do?
- Fill in the gaps between doctor’s appointments.
- Remind you to take meds, measure blood glucose, and eat healthily.
- Help you identify and overcome barriers to diabetes management.
- Hold you accountable while encouraging you.
Advantages of a Digital Diabetes Coaching App
You may think of a diabetes coach as a health professional that you see in person occasionally, but there are other options. A digital health coach can provide a full range of coaching services, plus have advantages over a live coach.
- Infinite scope for one-on-one coaching with each patient – no need to worry about shortages in the healthcare system and in the number of diabetes coaches.
- Complete convenience for each interaction – using your smartphone, you can access your coach anywhere (no need to drive anywhere to meet your coach), and anytime (24/7, evenings, and weekends, with no appointment).
- No judgement – it can be embarrassing to admit, face to face, if you ever skip your meds or workout, or fail to measure your blood glucose, but you can only get help if you admit it. A diabetes coaching app will never judge you, but will give you encouragement and support.
What can you expect from a Diabetes coaching app? Education, strategizing, reminders, cheerleading, troubleshooting, and accountability are a few of the app’s roles. In particular…
Meds and Blood Glucose Coaching
Medication adherence and blood glucose monitoring are among the most effective strategies to keeping blood glucose under control. Many patients need help with med compliance and with monitoring blood glucose as recommended by their doctors.
A diabetes coaching app can help with these behaviors by:
- Reminding you when to measure your blood glucose.
- Asking you if you have been taking your medications.
- Tracking your progress with blood glucose control and med adherence.
- Chatting with you about possible barriers to following your plan.
A diabetes coaching app can also inform you about when you should have various medical appointments so that you can be sure to make the appropriate ones.
Lifestyle Coaching for Diabetes
Diabetes management is about more than medications, doctors, and blood glucose testing. Other healthy lifestyle behaviors are just as important, and a diabetes coaching app can help with those. Your app can be there for you not only every day, but many times a day, since you need to make eating, exercise, and other lifestyle decisions multiple times each day.
Coaching features that you can use to improve your diabetes-related lifestyle choices can include help with:
- Education on the why and how-to of weight loss, physical activity, and healthy eating.
- Goal-setting for weight loss and exercise.
- Tracking of weight, exercise, and dietary consumption.
- Feedback on your choices.
The Best Diabetes Coaching App
How do you even choose a diabetes coaching app? The best diabetes coaching app for you is one that fulfills all of the standard roles of a diabetes coach, and has additional benefits. Examples of the advantages that Lark Diabetes Coach offers include:
- The expertise of nutrition, diabetes, exercise, and behavior change leaders who are behind the app.
- Proven success in the areas of healthy behavior change.
- Alerting you when your blood sugar readings are out of range and you should contact a doctor.
- Instant feedback on your diet and other choices, to let you know what was good and what you could improve on next time.
- Coaching around supportive behaviors, such as stress management and adequate sleep, that can help with diabetes management.
- Making your job easier by providing blood glucose test strips and a glucometer that syncs with the app so your measurements are automatically recorded.
What makes a good diabetes coaching app even better is if you can get it for free. Check with your doctor or healthcare coverage provider to see if you are eligible to use Lark for diabetes. It may be the perfect fit for you.
If you do not have diabetes, but have prediabetes and are at risk for type 2 diabetes, there is an app just for you! It is the Lark Diabetes Prevention Program, and it is also available as a coaching app that you can access 24/7. It can help you lose weight and improve health, so check your Lark DPP eligibility!
Full Recognized Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP)
A Diabetes Prevention Program, such as Lark DPP, is designed to help people with prediabetes prevent or delay progression to type 2 diabetes. A DPP has a specially-designed curriculum to help you learn about weight loss, increasing physical activity, and lifestyle tips to help you stay as healthy as possible.
Lark DPP is a health coach available 24/7 via your smartphone. Lark DPP is fully recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) within the National Diabetes Prevention Recognition Program. The personalized program includes help with weight loss, nutrition, and increasing physical activity through small behavior changes and establishing habits. In addition to offering the CDC curriculum, features of Lark include real-time feedback when you log meals or snacks, tracking of weight, physical activity, and food intake, and insights around diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management.Author