If you're living with type 2 diabetes, you know the importance of managing your blood sugar. If you don't, the consequences can be severe. In order to take care of your health, there are essential tools and diabetes products that can help in your fight.
We've put together a list of diabetic supplies that you should always have on hand.
The Importance of Good Diabetes Products
Type 2 diabetes means your body doesn't use insulin properly. This leads to fluctuations in blood sugar levels. It is also called "adult-onset diabetes" as it usually occurs in adults due to age, excess weight, or other health conditions. Around 34 million Americans are living type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes occurs because the body doesn't produce insulin. It's usually diagnosed in childhood or adolescence, and is often called "juvenile diabetes". Type 1 diabetes affects around 1.6 million Americans, including 187,000 children and adolescents.
Since type 2 diabetes is often linked to lifestyle habits, it is sometimes possible to control blood sugar levels by eating healthier, exercising more, or losing weight. However, you may require medication or insulin in order to manage blood sugar.
No matter which path works for you, you still need to monitor your blood sugar to ensure your numbers don't go too high or low.
The Link Between Insulin and Blood Sugar
Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar (glucose). Type 2 diabetes interferes with this process, leading to excess glucose in the bloodstream. It's referred to as insulin resistance.
Too much glucose can lead to serious health consequences and damage, including:
- Increased risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure & atherosclerosis (narrowing of arteries)
- Nerve damage
- Kidney damage
- Eye damage
- Non-healing wounds
- Hearing impairment
- Sleep apnea
The key to managing type 2 diabetes is the careful monitoring of blood sugar levels. You must also manage your A1C level, which measures the amount of hemoglobin in the red blood cells. Most of our recommended products for diabetics are designed for this purpose.
1. Glucose Monitoring Supplies
Your most essential tool should be a good glucose monitoring kit so you can keep track of blood sugar levels. This will let you know if your sugar is high or low.
A glucose monitoring kit should include:
- Glucose testing strips
- A glucose monitor that displays your sugar level
- Lancet and lancing devices
- Liquid kit so you can ensure your meter readings are correct
- A carrying case for your meter, insulin/insulin pens (if you require insulin therapy), needles, and alcohol swabs
If you take insulin for either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you'll need additional supplies:
- Insulin and/or insulin pump
- Syringes, or disposable or reusable insulin pens
- Container for disposing of needles
- Glucose tablets or gels (if your blood sugar gets low)
- 2 glucagon shot kits
It can be helpful to keep a journal or notebook to track changes in your glucose levels over time.
2. Diabetes Tracking Apps
It's actually much easier to monitor blood sugar levels than it used to be. This is due to a range of diabetic-friendly apps that you can download onto your smartphone. The apps can be paired with a glucometer that tracks your blood sugar automatically.
Your readings are constantly sent to the app on your phone so you can see your levels going up or down in real-time. This also means you won't need to stick yourself every time in order to test your blood.
3. Glucose Tabs
If you experience hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), it is essential to carry glucose products with you at all times. These can include glucose tablets, gels, or powders. They are small, individually wrapped, and can easily be carried in a purse or pocket.
4. Blood Glucose Meters
Blood glucose monitors are small devices that are used to read blood sugar levels at any given time. All you need to do is prick your fingertip and put a drop of blood on the testing strip. The strip then gets placed in the meter for immediate reading.
5. Insulin Pen
An insulin pen contains a syringe and insulin in one package. The needles on most pens are very small, so you shouldn't feel anything when injecting the insulin.
You can buy either reusable or disposable pens. The disposable kind comes preloaded with insulin. Once it's empty, you simply throw it away. Reusable pens are designed so they can be refilled when the insulin is empty.
6. Insulin Pump
Along with a diabetes monitor and app, you can also buy an insulin pump. These devices attach to your body via a thin plastic tube and either a needle or a tapered tube called a cannula. The needle or cannula is placed under the skin so it can deliver insulin.
Insulin pumps can be programmed to release a small amount of insulin as needed or as directed. For instance, before a meal you can determine your current blood sugar (by checking your monitor or doing a needle stick); calculate how much insulin you'll need to cover the meal, and then program the pump to deliver an adequate dose of insulin.
Advantages of an insulin pump:
- Fewer needle sticks
- More accurate dosing
- Fewer blood sugar lows
- May improve A1C levels
- Easier to dose for meals and snacks
- Easier to plan around your day
- Help manage early morning high blood sugar
It does take some time to learn how to program an insulin pump, but once you've mastered it, you will appreciate the convenience.
Note: Your healthcare plan (commercial, Medicare/Medicare Advantage, Medicaid) may cover some or all of your diabetes testing and monitoring supplies. Be sure to check with your insurance provider.
Diabetes Supplies To Help You Stay Healthy
You may have diabetes, but that doesn't mean you have to stop living. With careful monitoring and the latest diabetes products, you can lower the risks of complications and stay healthy.
Order your diabetes supplies today. If you need information or resources about diabetes care or other health conditions, be sure to review our blog.