In the lead-up to World Diabetes Day on 14th November, Apple’s health research has revealed new insights into glucose management and the challenges faced by individuals with diabetes.

The latest findings originate from updates to the Apple Heart and Movement Study and the Apple Women’s Health Study, both launched in 2019.

A key finding was that increasing the average length of exercise or the daily average number of steps led to a rise in the average time glucose levels stayed within the target range of 3.9-10.0 mmol/L (70-180 mg/dL).

Interestingly, female participants who exceeded 10,000 steps daily showed the longest duration within the 3.9-10.0 mmol/L (70-180 mg/dL) range, at 76.4%, compared to 78.8% in male participants.

Additionally, an analysis of 1,982 menstrual cycles indicated a slight increase in glucose levels within the preferred 3.9-10.0 mmol/L (70-180 mg/dL) range during the follicular phase, marked by lower progesterone levels (68.5% of the day), in contrast to the luteal phase, where this percentage marginally dropped to 66.8%.

Individuals engaging in over 30 minutes of daily exercise spent about 78.8% of their time within the 3.9-10.0 mmol/L (70-180 mg/dL) range.

Calum MacRae, a cardiologist, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and principal investigator of the Apple Heart and Movement Study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, commented: “Empowering users to modulate their individual physiology towards healthier outcomes is a key element of precision health and medicine. The Apple Watch enables users to identify the most effective ways to improve their cardiometabolic health.”

“The combination of exercise and continuous glucose monitor data through Apple HealthKit offers immense potential in helping users to better manage their glucose levels and reduce future heart disease risks. It’s truly exciting to see.”

These updates highlight how continuous glucose monitors can assist those with diabetes by providing valuable insights into how different foods, activities, and life stressors affect glucose levels. Adding this data to information from the Apple Watch, including activity, steps, sleep patterns, and menstrual cycles, creates a comprehensive pool of information.

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