Texting program offers advice, reminders on-the-go for people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes

While a growing number of smartphone applications are offering services that help individuals with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes manage their condition, a new program allows people who do not have advanced mobile phones to receive simple texts from the healthcare benefits provider Aetna.

Many individuals who have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes lead busy lifestyles and have to manage their time based on their health needs. In the midst of day-to-day activities, some diabetics may lose track of the last time that they ate or checked their blood glucose levels.

Moreover, patients may feel overwhelmed by the wealth of information they receive during physician visits, which is one reason why people may be more receptive to brief informative texts.

Aetna explained that members who sign up for the messaging program will receive educational texts and reminders about screenings, diabetes medications, lifestyle tips and general health information.

After the benefits provider launches this program, it will evaluate whether or not members improve their health management during the time that they receive these types of texts. The review will be based on four main areas, including how often patients receive regular hemoglobin A1c screenings and if they have LDL cholesterol tests completed at least once annually, in addition to whether they properly adhere to medication regimens or enroll in diabetes management courses.

A 2009 survey conducted by CTIA found that about 5 billion text messages are sent and received each day in the U.S.

The Mayo Clinic states that consistent diet and exercise are key to maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. For example, individuals who eat the same amount of food at a regular time each day may have an easier time predicting when their blood glucose levels will begin to drop.

The high prevalence of cell phone use indicates that these devices may be a helpful tool for keeping up a consistent diabetes management schedule regardless of hectic work and social agendas.