How I use my Apple Watch and iPhone to manage my diabetes

The Oura app is visible on the iPhone 15 Pro, with the Oura Ring and Apple Watch Ultra next to it.
Christine Romero-Chan/

It’s November, which means it’s Diabetes Awareness Month, most recently World Diabetes Day being celebrated on November 14. According to data from the Apple Heart and Movement Study (AHMS) and the Apple Women’s Health Study (AWHS), there are approximately 537 million adults worldwide. Currently living with diabetes, this number will potentially reach 643 million by 2030. In the US alone, nearly two in five people will develop diabetes in their lifetime, and more than one in three adults have elevated glucose levels that put them into diabetes. Pre-diabetes zone.

I’d been pre-diabetic since my college years (it runs on both sides of my family), but then my doctor officially diagnosed me with type 2 diabetes in early 2018. However, I was told that my case was more “mild” than others. And taking some medications – along with cutting out carbs and sweets, as well as daily exercise – can help me keep it under control.

Although I’m not perfect and could do better in managing my diabetes, my iPhone and Apple Watch have proven to be valuable tools. This way.

I always check my blood sugar level

iPhone 15 Pro showing One Drop apps and kits.
Christine Romero-Chan/

Although I was never told I needed to monitor my blood sugar, I wanted to do it anyway. I like to stay on top of things, and I also like looking at data.

The problem with traditional blood glucose monitors is that they mostly look old and clunky, but I finally found the One Drop diabetes management platform. I got its starter kit with a blood glucose meter, test strips, and lancet. The meter connects to my iPhone via Bluetooth, so any readings can sync directly with the app.

I usually check my glucose at least once a day, when I wake up in the morning. When I was pregnant, I used to check my glucose after every meal because I was at risk for gestational diabetes, but I haven’t been as disciplined about it since. But if I know I just have too much sugar, or if I’m feeling weak due to low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), I’ll get tested if needed.

All my readings are logged in the One Drop app, which feeds all the data back into the Apple Health app along with everything else. The One Drop app can also give you an estimated A1C (average blood sugar level over the past three months) based on your data, which I found helpful to see if I’m still on track with my goals. The Apple Watch app also has a complication for viewing your average glucose levels for the day, which I found especially useful when I was pregnant.

It’s important to note that One Drop has been around for a long time, but I just received an email over the weekend that they were closing their premium service and web store (where you can purchase diabetes supplies). Instead, the company is now focusing its attention on minimally invasive body-worn sensors (continuous glucose monitors). However the app will continue to work, so I plan to continue using it.

One Drop isn’t the only app to help you keep track of your blood sugar levels. Other apps like MySugar or Diabetes:M are available on the App Store (with many other options), or you can also add data manually to the Health app.

Making sure I don’t forget my medications

iPhone 15 Pro with One Drop Diabetic Kit showing medications in the Health app.
Christine Romero-Chan/

I mentioned earlier that my doctor gave me medication to help keep my blood sugar under control. But it’s not the only medicine I take; I am also on birth control and need a prescription from time to time for anxiety. I also have a tendency to forget sometimes as life gets busy, so I used to use a reminder app to keep track of my medications.

With iOS 16 and watchOS 9, Apple added Medicines, Vitamins, and Supplements to the Health app. It lets you add everything you need to take regularly and even get reminders and follow-up reminders to take them so you don’t forget. This is more beneficial than just using a basic reminder app as the Heath app also notifies you about drug interactions (moderate, severe or critical level) and also exports your medicine list for easy reference on doctor visits etc. Can do.

Since Apple added this feature, I’ve added my daily medications and it’s helped me stay on top of taking everything, including my metformin, which I take twice a day (morning and evening). I get a reminder on both my iPhone 15 Pro and Apple Watch Ultra, and when it pops up, I make sure to log it.

I also like to go back to the Health app at the end of the day and look at a series of medications – it helps me stay on top of it.

Apple Watch helps me stay active

Apple Watch Ultra is worn on the wrist while doing outdoor walk workout.
Christine Romero-Chan / /

I’ve been using activity trackers since they first started. I remember when Jawbone went out of business it was a thing to get a Jawbone Up before I went to Fitbit. But then Apple came out with the Apple Watch, and although I was skeptical at first (why do I need one when I have a Fitbit?), I eventually gave in and have been using it ever since.

Although it’s not perfect, I’ve found the Apple Watch to be one of the best devices for helping me stay as active as possible. Apple makes it easy to stay active with Activity Rings, and I always do my best to make sure they’re completed by the end of the day. I currently have a 1,726-day move streak, and I intend to keep it going for as long as possible.

When I get the Stand notification, I know I’ve been sitting for too long and it’s time to stretch my legs and get some fresh air. I live next to a small park, so I take advantage of it to take my daughter to play there every day and I can even make several trips to get inside. My husband and I sometimes go for a walk to some of the eateries in the city. week, and we go to Disneyland often because we live nearby. Even though these are small things, they all together help me stay active, which helps keep my blood sugar levels under control.

Another nice feature that Apple added with iOS 17 and watchOS 10 is the ability to see how much time you’ve spent in daylight. I hid it somewhat when it was announced, but it has been incredibly inspiring to me. It’s an interesting statistic, and it’s inspired me to go out more to see how much time I can spend in daylight in a single day. However, now that winter is approaching, it is a little more challenging, as it gets dark incredibly early.

sleep is also important

Apple Watch Ultra and Aura Ring are being worn.
Christine Romero-Chan/

Although diabetes management includes eating right (I could do more work on this, to be fair), losing weight, and exercising, sleep is also an important factor. A lot of research shows that 7-8 hours of sleep is recommended for adults with diabetes (and everyone in general), as poor sleep makes it harder to manage.

Although the Apple Watch is capable of sleep tracking, I don’t wear my Apple Watch Ultra to bed—it’s too heavy to wear overnight. Instead, I use my Aura Ring, which, in my opinion, provides much better sleep data than the Apple Watch. It not only shows me the stages of sleep I was in, but also the time, efficiency, rest, and more. It also tells me if I had enough deep or REM sleep at night, and how that affects my overall preparation for the rest of the day.

iPhone 15 Pro showing the Ora app.
Christine Romero-Chan/

I’ve been using the Ora Ring for about three years now, and it’s one of my favorite wearable devices, despite moving to a subscription-based model to provide useful data. The in-depth sleep data not only gives me good insight into how much sleep I actually get, but it also gives me an overview of my energy levels (readiness score) and tracks my activity like my Apple Watch.

Although it may be an extra accessory, the Ora Ring has been a valuable addition to my toolkit to help manage my diabetes.

Technology is very useful for managing your health

iPhone 15 Pro in Natural Titanium held up in front of a wooden gate.
Christine Romero-Chan/

I am far from being a perfect example of excellent diabetes control – it’s hard without proper discipline. But I’ve found my iPhone and Apple Watch, as well as other wearable devices like the Aura Ring, to be valuable in aiding my diabetes management journey.

I’m still waiting for Apple to someday add noninvasive blood glucose monitoring to the Apple Watch, so I don’t have to prick my finger too much. But that day may still be a long way off, and until then, I’ll keep using my current iPhone and Apple Watch to stay on top.

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