Diabetes Pilot for Palm Gives Diabetics The Right Balance of Health Tools

Carbohydrate counting and exercise tracking are terms very familiar to anyone with diabetes. They're essential tools for stabilizing blood glucose (BG) levels and taking control over their diabetes. And, if the person is on insulin, the amount of carbohydrates eaten or exercise taken is directly related to how much each dose of insulin should be. That's why a program such as Diabetes Pilot ($30, 15-day free trial), which allows you to keep a BG journal on a Palm, can be so valuable to diabetics.

Diabetes Pilot screenshot
Diabetes Pilot is Palm software that makes it relatively easy for diabetics to track, record and chart their blood glucose levels, carb intake, exercise, blood pressure, and insulin doses.

Setting up Diabetes Pilot (as with any diabetes journal) requires a consultation with your doctor. She or he will direct you on how to set the preferences, such for BG values (low, target, normal range and high) and insulin calculations (number of units per carb at meals or the number of units per 20 mg/dL blood glucose above your target). These preference settings allow the program to make recommendations according your own personal needs.

After you've set up the program, you use it throughout the day to record BG, carbs eaten, medicines taken, exercise done, and blood pressure. There's also a freestyle note option. When you enter how much you've eaten, Diabetes Pilot will make a recommendation on how much insulin you should take. Similarly, if your BG is high, you'll get a warning pop-up, with a suggested insulin dosage.

Diabetes Pilot's food database is not as comprehensive as Calorie King's but it is fully integrated into the program (unlike Calorie King Diabetes Log for Palm OS). Plus, you can easily create custom listings for favorite foods.

Diabetes Pilot generates reports which can be very useful in understanding your diabetes, recognizing trends, and working with your doctor to fine-tune your personal program of medication, food and exercise. These reports include a BG graph, which shows highs, lows and averages over a course of a day, a week, or other selected times. Tap the stylus on any point of the graph, and it displays the detailed record that specific graph point is based on. The Averages Report displays a columnar chart of blood sugars for today, past 7 days, past 30 days, past 60 days, and past 90 days. It also projects probable Hemoglobin AIC levels (the definitive lab test used to calculate BG control over a long period of time, such as three months). Unfortunately, although you can record blood pressure, there's no similar report or graph for it. Report information can be transferred to the Memo Pad, in various customizable forms, which makes the data easier to share with your physician.

Like CalorieKing Diabetes Log, Diabetes Pilot is a very useful program for monitoring your blood sugar, diet, exercise and blood pressure numbers. It will give you and your doctor an accurate composite view of your health status, while providing you with a tool to help keep your diabetes under control. However, Diabetes Pilot has an edge on the CalorieKing program, because of the convenience of its fully integrated food database.

Note: Diabetes Pilot is also available for the iPhone, Windows Mobile, and PC Desktop. It does not currently work on the Palm Pre.

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