In the olden days, there was a simple way to take your own blood sugar - using a monitor you bought at the pharmacy, a drop of blood from your fingertip and a test strip you had to replace each time.
Fortunately, we have many more options these days, and one of the most popular and useful is the continuous glucose monitor (CGM). These devices use interstitial fluid to estimate your blood glucose level without the need for an uncomfortable pinprick and disposable test strip. Many can be paired with a mobile app for added convenience.
Two options we think might be worth your time are our own NutriSense mobile app and the Dexcom G6 suite of apps.
For their part, Dexcom has developed a suite of apps to support their hardware, and in this article we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of using our own app or the apps developed by Dexcom for their device. We think that NutriSense is a better choice because it has most of the same features under one app you can take with you even if you change GCM devices.
Here’s a closer look.
This is the basic Dexcom mobile app that pairs with your Dexcom CGM and displays your blood glucose level on your mobile device, handheld receiver, compatible smart watch, or computer. It can also display this data on the home screen or as a widget.
Per Dexcom’s description in the Apple app store: “The Dexcom Glucose Program System is intended to replace fingerstick blood glucose testing for diabetes treatment decisions for persons with diabetes who are not at significant risk of severe hypoglycemia.” There is also a functionality in which you can chat with Dexcom support about your blood glucose levels.
This is a more feature-rich version of the basic glucose monitoring apps with the ability to share data directly with your treating clinic.
This is the “social” version of the basic G6 app with the ability to add up to ten people, like friends and family, to be able to view your blood glucose levels.
As mentioned above, NutriSense works with more than one type of hardware, so if you decide to switch you can take your NutriSense app data and a dedicated dietitian with you. Since CGMs tend to last from 7-14 days, this can make even temporary switches easier depending on your circumstances. The advantage of using the Dexcom G6 suite of apps, however, is that they will be updated specifically for the Dexcom family of products, so you can be sure that future updates will be made with those specific devices in mind.
Although we’re biased towards our beautiful green on black color scheme, we think the high contrast and adjustable settings are useful also -- those of us with less than perfect vision can see it without our reading glasses or contact lenses. Additionally, the interface is customizable to display the data you find most useful to see first on your dashboard. The Dexcom G6 mobile and wearable apps are also customizable, but there are fewer types of data to display. The Dexcom Clarity app, which can be used on a mobile device or computer, has more data and can also be synced with your treating clinic with a code they generate for you.
With the NutriSense app, you can dig deep into your data and see what might be unexpected links between the types of data you can track.
Some events, like sleep start and end and instances of high stress, are added manually within the NutriSense app. You can also log exercise, ketones, blood pressure, weight, and meals with our comprehensive food database.
The Dexcom Clarity app will show you features like time in range, meaning the overall amount of time in which your blood glucose levels were within healthy levels in 24 hours, as well as other basic analytics. If you have a compatible insulin pump, the G6 CGM will automatically send glucose data to your pump to adjust your insulin delivery in real time, aiding in keeping your blood sugars within a healthy range. That being said, The Dexcom only allows you to log grams of carbs, generic exercise, and generic health events.
One of the core features of NutriSense is that you can have a registered dietitian follow your glucose levels throughout the day and offer actionable advice on how best to manage them. With the Clarity app, both Dexcom support and your treating healthcare professionals can see your blood glucose levels and advise you how best to manage them. With the Follow app, you can add up to ten people who can see your data and choose whether or not to receive notifications if your blood glucose levels are too high.
Continuous glucose monitors (CGM) have been used in diabetic populations for many years and have been considered safe and effective enough by the FDA.
NutriSense offers, for the first time, the same CGM technology for the general public to use alongside registered dietitians. This comes with an innovative app that lets you track your blood glucose levels across time. With your expert advisor, you can have professional insight into how your body handles its fuel, optimizing a nutrition plan for holistic health management and wellness.