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“Taming your diabetes monster” is a great metaphor for what we try to do every day living with this condition, and with the mySugr app, there’s a fun way to go about it.
Though mySugr isn’t exactly brand new to the diabetes mobile app scene, it has been getting renewed attention since being acquired by Roche Diabetes Care in 2017 and adding personalized diabetes coaching to its platform in recent years.
As of fall 2021, more than 3.5 million people with diabetes use mySugr across the globe, with over half of those users being in the United States.
You want to know one of the main reasons why this is a better app than most out there? It actually has the potential to motivate people to better engage with their diabetes care! Here’s a look at what mySugr offers in the United States, from standard data logging and pattern recognition to advanced personalized diabetes health coaching now available.
- colorful and fun to use with easy-to-read and understand display
- customizable “Diabetes Monster” provides a personal touch and offers positive reinforcement to encourage diabetes behaviors like more glucose checks, medication and exercise tracking, etc.
- has an easy-to-search tagging feature to search for specifics or identify trends and patterns
- entering data is as easy as pushing a big + button up at the top part of the screen
- you can take pictures of your food and drinks to help you remember
- integrates data with Bluetooth-enabled Accu-Chek Guide meters as well as connectivity with Apple Health and Google Fit
- available for both iOS and Android
- offers personalized diabetes health coaching, for an extra monthly fee
- for Accu-Chek meter users, offers unlimited test strips based on your personalized needs as entered into mySugr
- can easily send reports to your endocrinologist or other healthcare provider
- affordable premium “PRO” version offers advanced features for just $2.99 a month
- your data must be manually entered unless you’re using one of the Accu-Chek connected meters (Accu-Chek Guide meters in the United States)
- currently only connects with Accu-Chek meters enabled with Bluetooth, rather than all brands of glucose fingerstick meters
- not all features are included in basic free version, but require a subscription option
- does not offer direct integration with continuous glucose monitors such as Dexcom or FreeStyle Libre
- bolus calculator feature is not available in United States because it has not been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration since being submitted for review in spring 2021
mySugr is a diabetes management app that helps you record your blood glucose data, along with meals, exercise, meds, and more. It provides daily, weekly, and monthly reports that you can share directly with your doctor. It also provides help calculating insulin doses, and the new coaching features turn it into a full-service learning and support program.
mySugr was founded in 2012 in Vienna and joined with Roche in 2017. It has a great motto that sums up its mission succinctly: “make diabetes suck less.”
Using a gamification approach to keeping tabs on diabetes data, this app offers a “monster companion” that each person names and tries to “tame” each day by logging data, staying in range, or being physically active.
The more points you earn for these activities, the better you “tame the D-Monster” by literally putting a ball and chain on the animated monster, so that it can’t run rampant and wreck your day, week, or month.
MySugr offers a free basic app version and higher-end premium version for a monthly subscription cost.
Free mySugr app
Using the free mySugr app, you can log important therapy data such as blood sugar, meals, activity, insulin, and more.
- Allows you to name your personal “diabetes monster” (mine is Blood Sugar Bumble, because obviously…)
- Has an intuitive User Interface that’s easy to read, even in sunlight
- Offers all data in one place with times and locations recorded
- Shows averages and different weekly or daily trend reports with just a simple swipe left on the screen
- Lets you can customize each entry based on your diabetes management needs
- Lets you create your own food database using hashtags or other tags to better identify your trends and patterns
- Allows easy creation of PDF reports to send to your healthcare professionals
- Provides an “eA1C,” or estimated A1C value
- Connects with Accu-Chek Guide meters to automatically sync data without manual logging (other meters can’t directly connect, but they can link to digital platforms like Apple and Google where other diabetes device data might be accessible)
mySugr PRO features
Aside from the above-mentioned features, two of the extra features included with their premium or PRO version of mySugr are the following:
Photos. You can include images of pretty much anything, be it a plate of food or a bag of snacks or a drink bottle. You can also use photos of a particular hypoglycemia treatment you used, or anything else that helps you better visualize your records.
Smart searches. The app offers advanced data analysis, using a smart search feature that includes 50 tags in order to compare entries by location, time, free form text, etc. Precise recording of recurring events or trends can help you better tweak your glucose management and help healthcare professionals to better assist you.
The premium version also offers additional features, including blood sugar test reminders, more detailed PDF reports, and the ability to sync additional glucose meters you may use.
mySugr Coach connects you with a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) who can offer support, tips, and help through the app, via email or by text message. This healthcare professional can help analyze your diabetes data and offer insights based on your goals or specific questions. You can “ask and go,” meaning that when you need help or advice you can simply tap into mySugr on your smartphone, and you’re guaranteed to get a notification and personalized answer within one business day.
This 1-minute YouTube video offers an intro to the mySugr Coach service.
What you get is pretty straightforward: diabetes care and education interaction, mobile health-style. If you send a message to the CDCES team asking them to help you interpret your data, within a business day they’ll respond with whatever you might need — analyzing trends, suggesting what you can do better, supporting and encouraging… and so on.
Interacting with them is basically texting within the app, activated by clicking the “Coaching” option shown here, alongside your personalized ID and mySugr monster.
When I tried this service, my goals were: to achieve more stability / less glycemic variability and fewer hypos, and to begin inching my A1C results down into a healthier range. Good goals, right?!
I found the mySugr logging features and this coaching service to be very useful tools, as I keep pushing to achieve those goals — even with some diabetes burnout along the way.
mySugr’s PRO version can be activated for free with some Accu-Chek devices. Otherwise, it costs $2.99 per month.
mySugr’s coaching service can be purchased within a bundle for $49.99 per month (available in the United States only and includes meter, test strips, mySugr PRO version, and the personalized coaching service).
Sure, there are multitudes of apps for everything diabetes these days — more than 1,000 for Android alone, not to mention iOS. But finding one that’s REALLY useful for you personally sometimes feels like searching for a needle (or a lancet?) in digital haystacks.
So, what makes this app different? Here’s my personal take:
- Motivates and encourages me. In my eyes, this app is different because it not only gives me the tools to log my health data, but makes that information actionable and keeps me engaged. With the cute monster analogy and the clean interface, this app makes me actually want to log my data (!). That’s where most other apps fall short.
- Fun. Forget about “clinical feedback.” Once you hit the check-mark to save the diabetes data, your D-Monster (aka my Blood Sugar Bumble) offers down-to-Earth feedback in the form of “Ouchie” if you’re High, and something like, “OMG! Eat something, will you!?” if you’re Low. When I’m in range, my Bumble seems to be happy with what I’ve done, and offers a laugh and “Oooo!” for reassurance.
- Color coding. Like any good D-data software, mySugr shows reports show averages and standard deviation, total food and exercise you’ve logged, and how many Highs and Lows you’ve had. Colors change respectively based on your glucose levels: red for too high, orange for middle ground, and green for within ideal target range.
- Searchable. I also like the fact that you can search the app for pretty much anything to base your decision-making on. For example, I can search the tags or look for “beer” or places I’ve eaten, to see how I calculated my insulin dose and what impact it had on me. Very cool. Note: There is a more advanced “smart search” feature available with the PRO service, which is what I mostly use.
- Adding images. There’s no denying that I love being able to upload photos in the PRO version of the mySugr app. You can snap pictures of food consumed, a particular insulin dosage, or an Afrezza cartridge to add to your data entry. That way, when you scroll through your logs, it all comes to life and you can easily see and better remember what was happening that day.
A sampling of user comments includes:
“I totally rely on and love your app. Having had diabetes more than 30 years, what you guys created and maintain is probably the most essential force in my life. I am grateful beyond words.”
“mySugr allows me to track my necessary data in a concise, intuitive, and paperless format. I especially appreciate the easy-to-see trending chart. Oh, and did I mention paperless? Good for me and the environment. Win-win!”
“This app is amazing. I tried several and this is by far my favorite. The app itself as a stand-alone is easy to use and lets you enter the usual blood sugars, insulin, carb counts, etc. plus notes on what you ate, and then, you can also tag the type of food and what you were doing (exercising, at work, etc.). The monster animation and level of humor in the app is fun, too.”
I personally am a big fan of the mySugr app, and that’s a pretty good endorsement from someone who has lived with type 1 diabetes for more than 35 years and gets quickly burnt out on pretty much everything.
You can easily log data and see patterns and trends, and also connect with other digital health platforms to connect other points of data. While the gamification approach may not be for everyone, I found it allowed me to engage with the mobile app more happily, and even get motivated to modify my behavior at needed times.
Whether you choose the basic free version or the premium PRO subscription, this app offers what few other diabetes digital tools do: the opportunity to work on “taming your diabetes monster” in a way that just, well… sucks less.