Diabetes health supplies are many and varied. As with a lot of other medical conditions, managing diabetes is not just a case of simply taking a couple of daily tablets. It might involve injecting insulin, measuring blood glucose levels regularly, learning how to manage high and low blood glucose, and changing some of the things you eat and drink.
Managing diabetes can seem like a big task, but we’ll have a look at some diabetes health supplies that could help you on your way. Hopefully this will give you an idea of the diabetes health supplies you should keep on hand.
Blood Glucose Testing
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor might have told you that you need to regularly test your blood glucose levels. This is because it’s important to not let your blood glucose get too high or too low, as either could result in potential health problems. Measuring blood glucose will give an idea of how well you are managing your diabetes. It is also particularly important if you use insulin injections, as it will help determine if you need to adjust your dose.
The basic diabetes health supplies you’ll need to test your blood glucose levels at home is a blood glucose meter, test strips, and lancets. You will also need a sharps bin to safely dispose of used lancets. Your doctor, nurse, or diabetes educator can demonstrate how to use each device. However, most blood glucose meters work in a similar way.
Firstly, you should ensure that your hands are clean and dry. Do this by washing your hands with soap and warm water, and then drying thoroughly. This will prevent any potential contamination of the blood sample, which may lead to a falsely high or low reading. Ensure the blood glucose meter and test strip are ready for use. Then, to obtain a blood sample, use the lancet to prick your finger. The general recommendation is to prick your finger on the side, not directly on the finger pad.
Most test strips only require a droplet of blood for testing. If you have difficulty obtaining enough blood for the sample, talk to your pharmacist or other health professional about ways to address this. For example, warming and massaging your finger before you prick it can help circulation. You might also need to adjust the penetration depth of the lancet.
Choosing Diabetes Health Supplies for Blood Glucose Testing
Blood glucose meters come in different forms, as do the lancets. Some are more compact and portable, which is useful if you need to test your blood glucose several times during the day. Most meters only accept same brand test strips. Check with your supplier if you’re unsure which test strips you can use.
Lancets may also be available in multi-use cartridges, which are preloaded with several needles. This reduces the frequency of lancet changes. For other tips about using lancets, check out this article.
Once you’ve got what you need, don’t forget to also set up a way to record your blood glucose results. This may be a handwritten record, or you might choose to use an app. Most meters will keep a memory of a number of different readings, but it can be useful to keep your own records so that you can make note of other factors that may have affected the reading. For example, you might note down when you last ate, and what you ate.
Supplies for Injecting Insulin
If you have been prescribed insulin, you will need further diabetes health supplies. Most insulin formulations for day-to-day use are available in pre-filled pens or cartridges. This means you only have to attach a needle, set the dose, and then inject the insulin. Usually you set the dose by just turning a dial, so there’s no need to draw-up the insulin. This eliminates the need for additional needles.
Insulin is always administered by subcutaneous injection. As such, the needle used is generally quite short. You might use a needle of a different size or length depending on your skin thickness, and what you are comfortable with. A health professional can help guide you with making the right choice.
Remember you will also need to dispose of used needles in a sharps container. Once this is full, you can generally take them to a pharmacy or medical centre for safe disposal.
Emergency Diabetes Health Supplies
If you have diabetes, it’s really important that you know what to do if you experience hypoglycaemia. Hypoglycaemia is the condition of having low blood glucose levels. If hypoglycaemia is persistent and untreated, it could lead to very serious consequences. To find out how to recognise hypoglycaemia, have a read of this article. Generally you can treat hypoglycaemia by consuming fast-acting carbohydrates, but if severe, you might need a dose of glucagon. This is an injection that helps quickly raise blood glucose levels. Your doctor will let you know if you should keep a glucagon injection on hand for emergencies. Meanwhile, you can find other tips for preventing and managing low blood glucose here.
Some people with diabetes choose to wear an “alert” bracelet. This ensures that, in the case of an emergency, paramedics or other emergency workers will know that you have diabetes, and that this needs to be considered with any treatment given. These bracelets are usually available for purchase online. Similarly, keeping a medication list, which includes the doses you’re taking, can be useful in emergency situations.
Other Diabetes Health Supplies
There are other diabetes health supplies that may help you to manage your diabetes or improve outcomes.
If you have been prescribed a lot of medication for diabetes and other medical conditions, you might consider using a dose administration aid. These come in different forms and sizes, and may include compartments for doses at different times of the day. You simply fill the compartments based on when you need to take your tablets. This is usually done on a weekly basis. It is then easier to keep track of which tablets you have and haven’t already taken.
For further assistance, you can ask your pharmacist if they can fill your dose administration aid for you. This might also help to ensure that you do not run out of tablets, as you will generally keep a week ahead. Have a read of this article for other advice about medication management.
Often people with diabetes also have high blood pressure. If this is of concern to you, it might be worthwhile getting a blood pressure monitor. This will allow you to measure your blood pressure at home on a daily basis, or as recommended by your doctor. Blood pressure monitors are generally quite easy to use.
Options to Help You Get It Right
There can be a lot of diabetes health supplies to keep track of and manage, but it doesn’t have to be difficult! It’s important to remember that there are options available, and there are health professionals to help you find the right supplies for you. There are also ways to keep track of what you need. For example, your diabetes educator might provide you with a checklist. Your pharmacist might be able to give you reminders for when you need to fill your prescriptions.
Managing your diabetes health supplies is an important part of managing diabetes.