2022 was a good year for diabetes technology, with lots of new devices hitting the market and advancements in the race to cure type 1. Some of the biggest news of the year was the release of the Freestyle Libre 3, now possibly the best continuous glucose monitor (CGM) on the market, and the approval of Mounjaro, possibly the best drug for type 2 diabetes ever developed.
Diabetes isn’t just about diet, exercise, and medicine. There are so many devices, gadgets, and tools that make managing diabetes easier day to day. With the holiday season coming soon, it’s a great time to think about splurging for your health, or for that of a loved one that you care for. Here are our top picks:
Continuous Glucose Monitor
The continuous glucose monitor (CGM) may be the best diabetes device out there — there’s nothing better for taking your glucose control to the next level.
The problem is, they’re pricey, and the cost to you will depend mightily on your health insurance. The devices are usually covered for people with type 1 diabetes, and for many of those with type 2 that use insulin. For some of our readers, they’re practically free, but for others, they’re far out of reach. (We know some people with type 2 diabetes that purchase the Freestyle Libre CGM off the shelf.)
With the release of the Freestyle Libre 3 and the forthcoming debut of Dexcom G7, CGMs are smaller and better than ever.
If this device falls within your or your loved one’s budget, be sure to take advantage of this unmatched window into your blood sugar world. It can help you detect patterns, troubleshoot spikes, and alert you of dangerous lows. Not only is it a great safety device, but it can also help you improve your overall blood sugar management.
A New Glucose Display and Alert System
SugarPixel is kind of like a bedside alarm clock, except it displays your blood sugar level at all times of the day. What a great product to help bring peace of mind (and some extra ZZZs) to anyone living with diabetes or their caretakers.
SugarPixel gathers data from a Dexcom CGM using your home’s WiFi, and displays the measurement using soft, warm lights in the units of your choosing. It also shows trend arrows and the blood sugar delta (how much the level has changed since the last reading). You can also put readings from two CGMs onto one display, which is great for families with multiple members with diabetes.
You can customize the display using over a hundred colors, and it also comes with a vibration puck to use as a silent alarm underneath the pillow, for the soundest of sleepers. I look forward to waking up in the middle of the night and just quickly glancing at this device so I can either treat, correct, or get back to sleep!
Medical Alert Bracelet
Most people with a chronic health condition should consider wearing a medical alert bracelet, but few do. If you have diabetes, these simple pieces of jewelry could save your life. I think about it a lot — what if I’m in an accident with very low or high blood sugar? How would anyone know I had diabetes, and what treatment I needed?
If you’re concerned about looking like a hospital patient at all times, don’t be. There are plenty of nice-looking alert bracelets to choose from. Road Id is popular with runners and cyclists; it’s inexpensive and has a simple, classic look. For something more attractive, check out Lauren’s Hope and its beautiful bracelets.
I prefer multiple daily injections (MDI) of insulin to manage my type 1 diabetes. I love the physical freedom, but I’m definitely jealous of all the luxurious features that come with insulin pumps. That’s why I’m such a huge fan of the InPen. It’s a smart insulin pen that syncs up to your phone and helps track your carb and insulin usage.
It has been a lifesaver for me, check out my rave review!
Automatic Pill Dispenser
If you have diabetes, there is a good chance you are on oral medication and probably have a plethora of other pills you take daily. It is easy to forget and confuse pills, especially for the older members of our community.
MedMinder is an awesome solution. It’s a smart pill dispenser that contains (and locks in) an entire month’s worth of pills, allowing the patient to open the right pill compartment only on the right day. If your loved one forgets to take their medications, it will wirelessly alert you, the caregiver. The display screen even shows pictures, and you can record a personal greeting. This is a great tool for anyone who is on daily medication but especially for patients who need a little help organizing their pills every day.
Bluetooth Cap for Insulin Pens
It can be very easy to forget if you’ve taken your insulin or not. Many of us have missed doses entirely or, potentially even worse, doubled up.
Timesulin helps eliminate both of those issues by letting you know exactly when you took your last shot. It’s an electronic cap that you slide over your insulin pen, and it does exactly one thing: It counts the time since you last used insulin.
And be sure to keep your eye out for Bigfoot Biomedical’s Unity pen, which will hopefully be available soon. It will become the first smart pen that can give out dosing recommendations by syncing up with a CGM.
Smart Water Bottle
Drinking water is one of the best ways to quickly improve your health, especially for people with diabetes. Here’s a clever way to keep well hydrated: HidrateSpark makes a smart water bottle that glows whenever it’s time to drink some water. It monitors every sip you take and tracks all your data in an app. The HidrateSpark smart water bottle comes in many different sizes, configurations, and colors. I can’t think of a better way to get started with a new healthy hydration habit.
Nutrition Tracking App
Before I started tracking what I was eating, I was snacking here and there throughout the day, not realizing how quickly those calories add up. Once I started using Lose It!, I quickly saved myself about 200 to 400 calories of mindless eating per day, which started resulting in some weight loss.
Lose It! offers a ton of features under their its plan, such as a personalized weight loss plan, a smart camera that can scan food and bar codes, and connections to fitness apps like Google Fit and Apple Health. It helps me keep track of my carbs, and there is also a community section that can help you to stay accountable!
Managing our diabetes day in and day out is exhausting. The above tools and gadgets can really help you tighten up your management, while hopefully thinking about diabetes less. Which is even better when we want to focus on family and friends around the holidays!