Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Log for Life - Diabetes Tracking Software

Diabetes is a disease all about data. You do blood tests several times a day, you count how many carbohydrates you eat, you note the amount and type of insulin you inject, and you record the time at which everything happens.

I'm a really good logbook-er. I have kept a written log book of my blood test results and related info for over 20 years. But since it's a paper record, I can't get all the juicy insights out of it that I need.

My main goal is to lower my HbA1C result safely, without having too many hypos/lows in preparation for the IVF treatment.

So I started testing out several pieces of online, desktop, or mobile software solutions for diabetes tracking. And I have found a winner! Unfortunately, it's not free, but nothing good is these days :P

It's called and it's an online system that was developed by a diabetic - so he has a bit of inside knowledge!

It costs $9 US p/month, which translates to about $15 p/month NZD, so it's not a cheap option for me. But I decided that the results I got in the 30 day trial period were too good to ignore. And I felt that it is a safe option, since there is no set time you have to sign up for; it's a cancel anytime thing, which I like :)

The best part of Log for Life is that you can enter multiple entries all at once. All the other software I tried out only let you enter one item at a time. (I wrote to several of them pointing out that this could mean I would have to enter 30+ entries a day! I'm not wanting to be a data-entry person! I have a life!)

But what I love best about it, is that you get some analysis of the data by clicking the Reports button. It shows you averages for blood test, medications taken, exercise, carbs, and weight.

It gives you a scattergraph that shows where all the results for the last month are on each hour of the day. That lets me see trends I had never noticed before. See the pic below and notice how you can see the meals quite clearly:

And here is what the day-to-day log book graph looks like. That little squiggly line under the larger graph is actually showing the last 4 weeks. With this I have been able to spot a trend of high test towards the end of each bottle of Lantus. So I have started changing them earlier to try and avoid the bad spikes in blood sugar. Very useful!

The other features that worked in favour of this software was the fact that they have a matching iPhone App so I could, in theory do away with the paper based log book altogether. Just got to find the money for an iPhone or iPod Touch! And the fact that you can share your data with other folks, like your doctor, or your family. Very nice. I am going to introduce my endocrinologist to this software on Monday, and I hope he likes it cos he's forever complaining that he can't understand my log book! We will see...

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