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Choosing the Best Diabetes Medical Supplies

If you have diabetes, it’s critical that you monitor your health to avoid complications. You may need to check your blood sugar levels and take insulin on a regular basis. You’ll also need to maintain a healthy lifestyle and monitor for symptoms of complications, such as diabetic neuropathy.

Unfortunately, a large number of people do not monitor diabetes properly. According to the International Diabetes Foundation, the most common reason people do not self-monitor their blood glucose is the cost of testing supplies. In the United States, diabetes test supplies and medications are often cost-prohibitive, especially for the elderly on a fixed budget and the uninsured. And in some areas of the world, the lack of available testing supplies is also a problem.

Costs of Diabetes Medical Supplies

According to the American Diabetes Association, the cost of diabetes in the United States in 2007 was:

  • Total costs (direct and indirect): $174 billion.
  • Direct medical costs: $116 billion.
  • Indirect costs (related to disability, work loss, premature death): $58 billion
  • Cost of caring for someone with diagnosed diabetes: $1 out of every $5 in total health care costs.

  • The average per capita medical cost for diabetes care in the United States during 2008 is estimated to be nearly $16,000 – about five times higher than those without the disease.

    With this in mind, it is often difficult for people with diabetes to afford the proper diabetic medical supplies, medication and preventative care. While some supplies are optional, there are some diabetes medical supplies that are just critical to have on-hand.

    Checklist of Must-Have Diabetic Test Supplies

    Here’s a short checklist of critical diabetic testing supplies and other important items you should always have readily available.

  • Insulin – The hormone necessary to treat Type 1 diabetes and sometimes necessary to treat Type 2. Although there are many types of insulin, they are classified by how fast they start to work and how long the effects last. Types of insulin include: rapid-acting; short-acting; intermediate-acting; long-acting and pre-mixed. If you are insulin-dependent it is vital to always keep several days supply on-hand in case of an emergency.

  • Diabetic Testing Meter – The blood glucose meter is another must-have. There are plenty of blood glucose testing meters from which to chose, and these days, almost all of them will provide accurate results. Finding the right blood glucose meter for you is often just a matter of finding the one with the features that best fit your lifestyle. Factors such as size, ease of cleaning, the ability to do A1C checks at home and the amount of blood necessary (smaller is better) can affect your choice. You’ll also want to consider the cost of the meter and test strips. Make certain to check with your insurance company to see what type of coverage they offer.

  • Blood Glucose Test Strips - Your blood glucose meter won’t function without the proper test strips. Always keep plenty of these handy, so that you can test your blood sugar level on time, every time.

  • Glucose Tablets – If your diabetes puts you at risk for hypoglycemia, a supply of glucose tablets should always be kept with your diabetes testing supplies. Glucose tablets are available in a variety of flavors and will help raise your blood sugar when it is low.

  • You can keep all your supplies organized in a convenient diabetes supply carrying case.

    More Important Diabetes Medical Supplies

    These items may not be medically necessary to treat diabetes, but they can prevent or protect you in the event of an emergency, as well as make your life more comfortable.

  • Medical Identification – This is typically a card, necklace or bracelet that lets other people know you have diabetes if you are in an accident and unable to communicate.

  • Batteries – There’s nothing worse than not being able to check your insulin levels because the batteries for your diabetes testing meter have run down. Make sure you always have a back-up set of batteries.

  • Diabetes Vitamins – Help ensure proper nutrition with a daily vitamin specially formulated for people with diabetes.

  • Sugar Free Substitutes – Stashing a sugar free substitute in a handy place, especially when you are out, can help you avoid problems when you’re somewhere where substitutes aren’t available.

  • Having these diabetic test supplies readily available allows you to not only proactively self-monitor your insulin levels, but also helps protect you from short and long-term complications that can arise when the disease is not properly managed. Always keep plenty on-hand in case you are unable to replenish your supply as expected. This will help you avoid emergency situations.

    Learn more about how Diabetic Care Servicescan work with you to lower the cost of your diabetes medical supplies.


    Defeat Diabetes –
    Center for Disease Control –
    American Diabetes Association –

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