By Sally Wiener Grotta, PCWorldSep 9, 2009 6:54 am PDT
If you or someone in your family has insulin-dependent diabetes, then you know how vitally important it is to keep a detailed log of your blood glucose levels, carbohydrates eaten, amount of exercise you do, and how much insulin you take. Calorie King Diabetes Log for Palm OS ($15, 7-day free trial) devices is an on-the-go program that can help you monitor and take control over your diabetes.
To set up the Diabetes Log, you register your preferences, according to your doctor’s instructions. In particular, you need to set your blood glucose target, as well as how much insulin you should take for the amount of carbs eaten or for lowering a raised blood glucose (BG) level to your target range. That way, the Diabetes Log will be able automatically calculate how much insulin you need to take. You also fill in fields so the software will display your particular medications in appropriate pull-down menus, your default exercise (and whether you want to measure it in miles, minutes, laps and so forth), and the units of measurement you use for your BG.
You input your BG, exercise and carbohydrates eaten, according to the actual time of day, such as 9:46 AM. You can also specify the time as After Breakfast, After Lunch, After Dinner, Breakfast, Dinner, Feeling Low, Lunch, Sick, Snack, Unfiled, or Custom Categories.
When blood glucose, exercise and/or carbs are entered, the Diabetes Log will recommend doses of insulin. But you make the final decision on the dose taken, which you also record. BG entries are automatically color coded, to warn you if your glucose is too low (red) or too high (blue). A simple BG graph can be projected over a day, week, 4 weeks, 3 months. Such charts can be invaluable when planning your ongoing treatment with your doctor. But the program doesn’t chart the total carbs or exercise; that’s done in its sibling program CalorieKing Diet Diary. Nor does the Diabetes Log have an input field for blood pressure, like other programs, such as Diabetes Pilot. However, there’s a section called Notes, for free-wheeling (unsearchable and ungraphed) data, in which you can record your blood pressure or other information.
The one limitation that most diabetes diaries have is that the user needs to know the carb levels of all foods, and input them accurately, for correct (and safe) glucose to insulin calculations. That’s where CalorieKing has a major advantage. If CalorieKing’s Diet Diary is also installed on your Palm, the Diabetes Log will use the Diet Diary’s database of over 50,000 foods to calculate your carbs. Unfortunately, the link isn’t seamless. First, you have to leave the Diabetes Log and go into the Diet Diary, to record what you’ve eaten for your meal. Then, you close the diary, open the log, chose to add a food, select import, click on the meal you wish to import, and then click on OK. Only then will the number of carbs from that meal be added to your log. It would be so much more efficient, if the Diabetes Log and the Diet Diary were fully integrated, with one acting as a plug-in to the other.
Although Diabetes Log is primarily designed for insulin-dependent diabetics, it works just as well for non-insulin dependent diabetics and even pregnant women with gestational diabetes. All these diabetics must closely monitor their blood sugar, watch their caloric/carbohydrate intake, and factor in exercise; many must take oral medication as well.
CalorieKing Diabetes Log for Palm OS can be an invaluable tool for maintaining good blood glucose levels, for both insulin and non-insulin dependent diabetics–especially when paired with CalorieKing’s Diet Diary. However, for insulin-dependent diabetics, using a journal like the Diabetes Log for Palm can be of paramount importance, for the sake of your health and even your life.