In theUnited States, 34.2 million people have diabetes. To put it another way, one out of every 10 Americans is suffering from diabetes at different stages. (Source: Andriod Authority)
Both Apple and Samsung are vying for authority in health smartwatches, and their next target is to introduce wrist-based blood glucose monitoring. Both Giants introduced their latest watches this year, but neither the Galaxy Watch 4 nor Apple Watch 7 can track sugar levels in the blood.
So far, no smartwatch or fitness tracker can monitor blood glucose levels. The best a few of them can offer is to display data from external continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems (i.e. Dexcom G6, Freestyle Libre).
So if you have diabetes, do a smartwatch can make a difference. Absolutely yes. To check the blood sugar level from the comfort of your wrist is more convenient to repeatedly take out your phone and open the dedicated app. Glancing at your watch screen for health metrics is pretty fast and
As diabetes has no cure, your best bet for a healthy lifestyle is to manage it to an optimal level. A smartwatch that helps you to manage your diet, pushes you to adopt an active lifestyle, and track all the important health metrics like blood oxygen saturation, heart rate variation, stress, and sleep can make a difference.
For a diabetic patient, a proper smartwatch is more than a fancy gadget, rather it can be the best health and fitness companion.
For those who are in need, We’ve done the legwork and compiled a list of the top smartwatches for diabetics.
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Best Smartwatch For Diabetes Patients
Apple Watch Series 6
Galaxy Watch Active 2
Garmin Venu 2
Ticwatch Pro 3 GPS
Garmin Forerunner 245 Music
Fossil Gen 6
Apple Watch Series 6: Best For Diabetic Patients With iPhone
Apple Watch Series is the most successful product by Apple except for the iPhone. As we write this roundup, the new Apple Watch Series 7 is a few days away to hit the market. It would certainly be better than Apple Watch Series 6, but also a little expensive.
Anyways, Apple Watch Series 6 has a crisp Retina Display so you can view the blood glucose level on a crisp, bright display.
There are a number of factors that this watch can track that relate to a diabetic patient.
Take for instance the stress monitoring. We all know that stress is a major barrier to effective glucose management. The stress hormones in the body increase the sugar level in the bloodstream, which can lead to Hyperglycemia. Series 6 doesn’t only track stress but offers you effective solutions in breathing and mindfulness exercises to reduce it.
Diabetes makes you vulnerable to various diseases and both heart failure and Sleep apnea are part of the list. Blood oxygen tracking is another important feature of the Apple Watch Series 6 that helps you to track these two major diseases.
Although ECG has a distant relation with blood sugar level, it is still good to have a powerful feature on your smartwatch. In fact, Apple Watch was the first to get approval for ECG by FDA (available on Watch 4, Watch 5, Watch 6, Watch 7)
Sleep deprivation is another major cause of high glucose levels in the blood of a diabetic patient. Series 6 can track only superficial sleep metrics, so it isn’t a great watch in this regard. Fitbit and Garmin offer far more advanced sleep tracking.
A proper diet plan is crucial to keep the blood glucose level in check. Apple Watch’s accurate calorie tracking would allow you to keep close tabs on your diet and optimize it for a healthy lifestyle.
Apart from that, Series 6 is a remarkable GPS fitness and sports tracker. There is a range of workouts and sports modes to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Popular sports and outdoor activities like running, cycling, swimming, and hiking all come with advanced metrics on the watch. You can always attach Bluetooth heart rate chest straps to improve accuracy.
Note: These features are just the tip of the iceberg, the watch has much more to offer.
If you are buying the watch for your parents, it would be reassuring to know that Apple Watch Series 6 like its predecessor has a fall detection sensor and an SOS function to inform loved ones in case of an emergency. (The most important features to consider if your parents suffer from high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes)
Apart from this, there are myriad of features to explore in this smartwatch.
Stress and Sleep Tracking
Accurate calories tracking
Intuitive User Interface
ECG and SpO2 tracking
SOS Feature, Fall Detection Sensor
Poor Battery Performance
A little Expensive
How To Connect Dexcom G6/G5 with Apple Watch Series 6?
Later this year, we are expecting a major update by Dexcom, the company would integrate the Blood Glucose Readings in the Apple Watch app bypassing the iPhone.
You can still discreetly view your glucose data on the Apple Watch, but the watch needs to be connected to your iPhone all the time. It updates the result when you wake up the screen.
Apple Watch has an app for Dexcom that shows your glucose readings, trend arrow, and trend graph. Also there are multiple watch faces that support Dexcom data.
You can view the data in different formats depending on the watch face.
To connect the Apple Watch with Dexcom G6, you will have to install the compatible app both on iPhone and the Watch itself. The data sync takes a bit of time, but not frustratingly long.
Best Apple Watch Apps for People with Diabetes?
This video will walk through the essential apps for diabetes. We have here the pre-loaded apps like To-Do list to organize your diet plan, ECG App, and apps for Continuous Glucose Monitors Like Dexcom.
Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz), NFC, Bluetooth
Compatibility: iOS, Android Apple iOS 12.2 or higher. Android OS 7.0 or higher.
Battery Life: 6 days max, 3-5 days with normal usage
Sensors: Multi-path optical heart rate senior multipurpose electrical sensors compatible with ECG app & EDA appRed and infrared sensors for oxygen saturation (SpO2) monitoring Gyroscope Altimeter3-axis accelerometer Skin temperature sensor Ambient light sensor
Fitbit has been a pioneer in the fitness tracker industry and is going strong with their latest line of watches which have all-day activity tracking, smartphone notifications, and workouts.
The company is now a part of Google, and most probably its new line of health watches would be powered by Wear 3.0.
Fitbit Sense, released last year, is compatible with both iPhone ios and Android devices.
Now back to the topic. The company has a wide range of partnerships with CGM manufacturers that include ‘Dexcom’, ‘One Drop’, and ‘United Health Care’.
Though none of its devices including the Fitbit Sense is capable of tracking blood glucose levels, they would help you to manage your diabetes with the help of third-party CGMs.
We favor it over the Apple Watch Series 6 mainly because it offers all the health features of its competitor, without charging a fortune for it. Plus, it offers advanced sleep tracking. For diabetic patients looking for a mid-range watch, Fitbit Sense is a worthy fit.
Fitbit’s investment (about $6 million) in the diabetes tech startup (Sano) back in 2018 has failed to bring positive results so far. The company added a feature earlier in 2021 to manually add your blood glucose level on the smartphone app, but we all know wrist-based automatic tracking would have been more fruitful.
As mentioned above, the watch is fully capable of showing data from third-party CGMs on its crisp AMOLED display and has a decent battery performance. All you have to do is to keep the smartphone connected with the device all the time. Maybe in the future, Fitbit with Wear OS bypass the smartphone connectivity.
Generally, there are watch/clock faces on Fitbit App, like there are for Dexcom G6 (Glance), that shows blood glucose level trends, real-time blood sugar, and a few other metrics. Some of them are paid, cost around $5.
Other features that diabetic patients may find helpful include calorie tracking and diet plan. Being a full-fledged health watch, it is also able to track your sleep patterns, heart rate, blood oxygen, and above all, the ECG. (the only watch by the company with FDA-approved ECG Tracking. Fitbit Versa 3 is an excellent alternative if you minus the ECG tracking.
Aside from this, the Fitbit Sensē provides a comprehensive stress management widget that can help you relax by providing numerous workouts and guided mediation sessions. It detects tiny electrical changes called electrodermal activity (EDA) responses on your skin to make a data-driven prediction of your stress level.
There are hundreds of preloaded workouts and sports modes on the watch to help you maintain an active lifestyle. To name a few, it has the regular like GPS running and swimming to High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), kickboxing, barre, and yoga.
Lastly, like the health snapshot feature on the premium Garmin Watches, you can also print your health stats for the last 30 days in PDF format on Fitbit and can send it over to your physician.
Note: There are a couple of caveats. Advanced Sleep data and Fitbit Wellness report is locked for premium account users. You would have to pay extra for a subscription along with the cost of the watch.
Affordable Health watch
Crisp AMOLED Display
Fit Almost all hand sizes
ECG and Blood oxygen monitoring
Solid battery performance
Advance sleep and stress tracking
Contactless Payment (Fitbit Pay)
Voice Assistant (Alexa and Google Assistant)
Limited third-party apps
Advanced features are locked to the premium subscription
Galaxy Watch Active 2: Best By Samsung for Glucose Monitoring
Samsung has been trying for nearly half of the decade to introduce a non-intrusive solution to blood glucose monitoring.
Before the launch of the Galaxy Watch 4, there was a rumor that the latest Samsung Watch would monitor blood sugar levels using a process called Raman spectroscopy. The diabetic patients were elated. But once again it didn’t materialize.
So we are all left with the good old Tizen-powered Galaxy Watch Active 2 and the premium Galaxy Watch 3 to view blood oxygen levels, just like the Apple Watch and Fitbit. That is, you pair a third-party CGMs to the Samsung Galaxy Watch to track the blood sugar.
You would have to rely on the partnered meter such as Dexcom’s G6 or One drop. The idea is, you pair these meters to the compatible Andriod Phone, and the phone that transmits the data to the Galaxy Watch.
Both the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 and Galaxy Watch 3 have tons of health and fitness tracking features. Fitbit like advanced sleep tracking, stress, and respiration tracking, calories monitoring, and heart rate tracking makes the list along with the now not-so-latest blood oxygen tracking.
The top feature of the watch can not be other than the ECG for which Samsung get FDA approval right after Apple. However, many users have complained that the ECG tracking on Samsung watches is not at par with Apple and Fitbit.
The safety features include the Apple-like Fall detection, which is particularly suitable if you are a heart patient, involved in outdoor running, or buying the watch for your elderly parents or relatives.
Galaxy Watch Active 2 has various sports modes, and it is one of the best multisport watches. There is a sensor to track both indoor and outdoor sports modes, and all the stats can be viewed on the crisp Super AMOLED display of the watch. For diabetic patients who intend to track running or indoor cycling, Active 2 offers an affordable alternative to Apple and Fitbit.
Lastly, the watch offers you a standalone experience with its built-in GPS, NFC technology for contactless payment, LTE connectivity to make calls and texts, and third-party apps support.
Note: Old Tizen-powered Samsung Watches including Galaxy Watch Active 2 can’t be upgraded to the Wear 3.0 of Galaxy Watch 4. The company is offering 3 years of updates for them.
Sleek and Slim Design
ECG and SpO2 monitoring
Bright and crisp AMOLED display
Bluetooth and LTE variant
Solid fitness tracking abilities
Decent battery life
Touch Rotating Bezel for easy navigation
Voice assistant (Bixby) and contactless payment (Samsung Pay)
Sports tracking is not at par with Garmin or Apple
Garmin Venu 2 is a stylish and attractive smartwatch with an exquisite look. All Garmin products are specially designed for athletes, so this one also gives users great performance when being used in an exercising state.
In addition to that, they offer a host of health and fitness features, almost all you can get in Fitbit, Apple, and Samsung Watches we discussed above.
Garmin Watches are suitable for Type 1 Diabetic Athletes for obvious reasons. To view your CGM data on the Venu 2, you would have to set up the watch face and a data field for popular CGM apps like Dexcom and Freestyle Libre. The setup method is quite complicated, and we will thoroughly explain it in a separate post.
Of all Garmin Watches, Venu 2 and Original Venu are the only ones that offer AMOLED display. So if you can’t live without a vibrant display, and want something in line with the Samsung, Apple, and Fitbit, these should be your ultimate picks.
The watch offers plenty of health features on top of which is its accurate heart rate tracking (both static and dynamic). Sleep tracking is advanced with detailed insights on Light, Deep sleep and Rapid Eye Movement, and Awake Time. Unlike Fitbit Sense, Garmin has not locked the advanced sleep tracking to premium account users.
In addition to this, the watch can track blood oxygen, stress, and respiration. Interestingly, all these metrics add to the one unified feature called ‘Body Battery.” It allows you to get a wider picture of your daily energy. It decides for you whether you need to pump your heart at the gym or take a power nap to recover. For diabetic athletes, it is of utmost importance to properly recover as any sign of fatigue or overwork can lead to high blood sugar levels.
Yet another popular feature is the ‘Fitness Age‘. Venu 2 tracks a lot of health metrics and gives you a number. A healthy lifestyle can cut short the age, and this metric pushes the user to adopt new activities.
In addition to this, the watch offers accurate calories tracking and there are plenty of apps to plan your diet. Plus the Garmin Coach will guide you step by step through your fitness journey.
There is an incident detection feature that notifies your emergency contacts if you fall with the watch on your wrist. Also with the health snapshot feature allows you to share a PDF report of your health metrics.
Apart from this, the watch offers limited yet practical smarts too. On-board GPS is common in Garmin Device, but Venu 2 offers music storage with Spotify offline support and Contactless payment as a plus.
Venu 2 would be a great help to maintain diabetes when you go out for casual running or hit the gym. With its week-long battery life, you won’t have to recharge it every single day.
Solid Battery Performance
Top-notch GPS tracking
Plenty of Sports modes.
A little Pricey
Ticwatch Pro 3 GPS: Best Wear OS watch with Diabetes
Mobvoi’s Ticwatch series is one of the most affordable Wear OS smartwatches on the market. Ticwatch Pro 3 GPS and Ticwatch E3 have the latest Qualcomm Processor and are the only smartwatches to get Wear 3.0 update later this year.
Daily diabetes monitoring on the Wear OS device can’t be better done than with the Ticwatch Pro 3 GPS. Like all other watches on this list, Wear OS-powered watches aren’t capable to track the sugar level, but they can display the data from the CGMS.
Popular CGMS by Dexcom, Freestyle Libre, Medtronic, and Senseonics transmit the data to your smartphone app. Once this is achieved, you would have to install the watch faces by open-source apps like xDrip+ and Glimp. The setup is a no-brainer. Once integrated, you can view your sugar level on the watch, updated every 5 minutes.
The Watch has all-day heart rate monitoring. It has tracking for your steps, calories burned, distance traveled, and duration of sleep.
Also, it can track your blood oxygen level, a feature that has recently become popular in smartwatches. It is particularly suitable for those who are suffering from any kind of lung disease or sleep apnea.
The Wear OS powering this watch is set for an upgrade this year. On the old version, there are a plethora of health and fitness apps from which you can take benefit. To mention a few, you get access to Google Fit, Myfitnesspal, Starve, Nike Run Club, Mapmyrun, Runkeeper are all available right from the comfort of your wrist.
Other perks of Wear OS include Google Assistant to control IoT devices and day-to-day chores, Google Pay with a wide coverage of supported banks, and Google Maps to make navigation a painless process. The watch’s fast processor, Snapdragon 4100, and 1 GB RAM run these apps smoothly. But the overall performance lags far behind the Watch OS by Apple.
As far as sports tracking is concerned, the watch offers a decent number of sports and workouts preloaded into the device. The tracking is acceptable for casual users, but if you are a pro athlete, Garmin offers better accuracy.
Lastly, the watch has a long battery life of almost three days. However, if you switch to essential mode with an LCD FSTN display (the watch has two displays), you can prolong the battery performance to almost a month.
Garmin Forerunner 245 Music is the ideal affordable watch for runners who are attempting to start a diabetes care program. Forerunner 945 is a much better alternative if you are into triathlon training.
The watch will help you keep track of your heart rate, pulse oxygen. It has 24/7 activity monitoring which allows you to monitor your sleep, step count, intensity minutes, and daily calorie burn.
Forerunner 245 has all the fitness capabilities of Venu 2, but lack in the display department, where its lackluster MIP technology ruin the experience. Again, you will have to download apps like Nightscout to view blood glucose data from CGM.
Like other wrist-based optical sensors, this watch keeps you active throughout the day by offering personalized heart rate zones and you can also monitor your heart rate using a chest strap. It also features all-day stress tracking which allows you to monitor your mental health and a sedentary reminder to move and take a break from sitting.
There is also a pregnancy feature especially for women that allows you to log your symptoms and offer you nutrition and activity tips as your pregnancy matures. on the other hand, menstrual cycle tracking is available on the Garmin watches for years now, and Forerunner 245 has it too.
In the sports department, It has built-in GPS which allows you to capture your distance, speed/pace, and route on your wrist. Apart from running, it has tons of sports and workout modes. And if you are unsatisfied, you can also explore more by downloading or creating courses/workouts on Garmin Connect.
In addition to this, it has music storage that allows you to take your favorite tunes with you on the go. You can store up to 500 songs directly on the watch. Also, it offers support for Spotify, Amazon Music, IHeartRadio, and Deezer. You can directly download playlists from these platforms.
Forerunner 245 Music has a fabulous battery life as it offers up to a week in smartwatch mode and about 6 hours in GPS/Music mode. However, charging this watch is a hassle. It doesn’t support fast charging and takes almost 2 hours to fully charge.
Like its predecessor, Fossil Gen 6 is a fashion-focused lifestyle watch. However, the fact that it has a crips AMOLED display, and runs the Wear OS makes it an attractive option for Andriod Users. The vibrant display is easy to read with an always-on mode that allows you to check your daily fitness stats with just one glance.
You will get complete access to Google Wearable Suite that include Google Maps, Gmail, Google Pay, Google Assistant, and more
Though it has limited fitness tracking capabilities, we can’t rule out the Fossil 6. The watch can track run and a number of other workouts. It has GPS on-board, can track essential health metrics like heart rate and blood oxygen. The sleep tracking is quite basic just like the Apple Watch.
Both Ticwatch and Fossil watch on this list runs Wear OS, the former has its own apps for advanced tracking. While on the other hand, Fossil has the hardware but lacks the software support from Wear OS. In the future, the watch is going to be upgraded to Wear 3.0, you might tap into advanced features.
Like other Wear OS-powered Watches, you will have to rely on third-party apps to view blood glucose data from a CGM. Apps like xDrip+ have special watch faces that you can install on Gen 6 to control your blood sugar.
It’s a shame that Gen 6 doesn’t offer any groundbreaking improvement over Gen 5 watches except for the fast Wear 4100 processor. Despite the claim of a 30% boost in speed, to untrained eyes the real-time difference between the new and the old chip (Wear 3100) is imperceptible. 1 GB RAM and 8 GB storage is enough to seamlessly run apps and music storage.
Like Garmin Pay in Garmin Watches, Apple Pay in Apple Watch, and Samsung Pay in Galaxy Watch, Gen 6 has NFC technology to make contactless payments. The speaker and mic work flawlessly and Google Assistant compete with SIRI neck to neck in wearable devices.
Lastly, Fossil Gen 6 is a one-day watch. the battery performance of Fossil Watches has always been a bummer. However, the fast charging technology (0-100% in an hour) compensates for the poor battery life.
Premium Build Quality
Crisp AMOLED display
Built-in GPS, 8 GB storage
Google Pay, Google Assistant
Poor Battery Performance
How Smartwatch Helps Diabetic Patients?
A smartwatch can do wonders for diabetic patients. It can help you track your steps, calories burned, and even the quality of your sleep. Other features include heart rate data, ECG, and quite popular blood oxygen tracking.
Many diabetic patients need to test their blood sugar levels on a daily basis. though the smartwatch can’t measure the sugar level on its own, it can broadcast blood glucose data from supported CGMS. This allows you to glance at your real-time glucose level, trends, and history from the comfort of your wrist.
Some watches can even share your health data with qualified physicians in a PDF report. Currently, Apple, Fitbit, and Garmin are in a fierce battle to bring non-intrusive blood sugar monitoring into the smartwatches, and maybe in 2022, many of their watches would be able to do so.
Do Smartwatch Show Accurate Results?
As far as the blood sugar data is concerned, the question is irrelevant as no watch can track it directly. Rather as mentioned above most of them broadcast glucose data from third-party CGMs.
On the other hand, the smartwatches are pretty accurate when it comes to heart rate and blood oxygen data. Sleep and stress data should be taken with a pinch of salt as we are still not convinced that wrist-based sensors can beat standard devices.
By and large, the accuracy depends on how much you are investing in the watch. Cheap smartwatches offer baseline accuracy, but those by Apple, Garmin, and Fitbit have comparable accuracy with respect to standard devices.
If you are diabetic, the best smartwatch for your needs is the one with a lot of health and fitness features. Luckily, there are many on this list that can satisfy you. Except for the Apple Watch, all other wearables are compatible with both Andriod and IOS.
Even if you don’t find the perfect match, we highly encourage you to invest in a smartwatch to manage your diabetes. It is the most convenient way to keep tabs on your glucose data.