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The Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology (CDE) has launched its club app to provide people who have diabetes with valuable information on managing the condition and tools to track their progress.

“It has been suggested that a person with diabetes should know more about diabetes than the average general practitioner. But this can be overwhelming, which is why this app has been introduced,” said Hamish van Wyk, a registered dietitian at the CDE.

Diabetes is one of the few chronic conditions that can be controlled or even reversed through exercise and healthy eating. Yet, many sufferers were not aware of this, he said.

On Discover, the first section of the CDE Club app, people with diabetes are able to access educational articles, videos and recipes. The content is developed by some of the leading healthcare providers in diabetes in South Africa. Importantly, the app asks the user clinically relevant questions about their health status and, based on the answers, it can suggest content specific to the user’s needs.

Van Wyk said: “Our experience tells us that the majority of people with diabetes have many questions about their condition and don’t have the answers.

“While the intention of the app is not to take over the role of a diabetes nurse, educator or dietitian, it will provide information to support the user’s educational journey and act as a point of reference.

“It offers answers to questions such as: Why do I have diabetes? Will I ever need insulin in addition to my pills? How many times a day should I check my blood glucose levels? and so on,” he said.

Van Wyk said paired with each article was an achievable action to provide the user with the next step forward. “Basically, it provides a way to put what they’ve learned into action,” he said.

For example, the app can remind the user to drink more water or to take lunch to work. Users can also track their workouts and steps, among other things.

He said users that register with the CDE diabetes management programme can view their online health record with clinical feedback.

“This is incredibly important as, ultimately, the suggested actions ideally need to translate into improved clinical outcomes, such as lower blood pressure,” he explained.

To help with the maintenance of changed behaviour, the next section of the app, encourages users to view and share their successes with friends and supporters.

“Lifestyle changes are hard to implement alone. The true beauty of changing one’s health comes through two-way support. I believe that if we had a community that encourages and supports healthy living, we would not be experiencing the current global tsunami of type 2 diabetes,” Van Wyk said.

The CDE Club app will have rewards that are redeemable at no cost. As users read articles, complete actions and achieve clinical targets, they will earn “badges” for which they will be rewarded with coupons for discounts on various brands.

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