Necessary Equipment and Supplies
Here’s a short checklist of critical diabetic testing supplies and other important items you should always have readily available.
All people with Type 1 diabetes, and some people with Type 2 diabetes require insulin to keep blood sugars in a safe range. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that that allows your body to use sugar (glucose) as energy or store energy for future use. The insulin that you inject is made chemically as a modification of human insulin.
Insulin Delivery Devices
Re-useable insulin pens, disposable pens, or syringes are required to deliver insulin into the body by injection. *Some people may decide to use an insulin pump rather than administer daily insulin injections.
Needles – Insulin delivery devices require a supply of appropriate needles for the injections.
Blood Glucose Meter (Glucometer)
There are plenty glucometers to chose from and finding the right one for you is often a matter of finding one with features that best suit you and your lifestyle. Factors, such as size and cost can also affect your choice.
Blood Glucose Test Strips – Your glucometer will require specific test strips to work.
Lancing Device – Your glucometer comes with a lancing device. This device contains a lancet (which you will load into the device) to poke your finger in order to draw a small blood sample. This sample will be applied to your blood glucose test strip within your glucometer.
Lancet – A small needle used as part of a lancing device.
Glucose (Sugar) Tablets
Glucose tablets are a type of fast acting sugar that are the quickest way raise your blood sugar when it is low (or when you are experiencing hypoglycemia).
This is typically a card, necklace or bracelet that lets other people know you have diabetes if you need help and are unable to communicate.
Having these diabetes supplies readily available allows you to monitor your blood sugar levels and helps protect you from complications that can arise when diabetes is not properly managed. To avoid emergency situations it is a great idea to keep extra supplies on-hand, stocked at home.
Optional Equipment and Supplies
Diabetes Supply Carrying Case
You will need to keep all your supplies with you at all times, so choose a case that is convenient for you.
It is important to keep track of blood glucose readings along with other information, such as carbohydrates consumed and exercise.
Blood Pressure Monitor
Your doctor will usually check your blood pressure in the office but you can also check it regularly at home if needed by using a home blood pressure monitor.
Home A1C Testing Kit
An A1C test is normally ordered by your doctor or endocrinologist and is done in a lab. There are kits available if you choose to do the test at home at your own expense.
Ketone Testing Supplies
Ketone testing may be required if you have type 1 diabetes and your blood glucose levels are very high. Blood ketones can be tested using a ketone meter and corresponding test strip. Urine ketones can be tested using a dipstick that can be purchased at your local pharmacy. If you test positive for ketones, consult your doctor or diabetes health care professional immediately.
Alcohol Swabs or Skin Preparation Wipes
If there is visible dirt on the skin or if you work in unsanitary conditions, it is advisable to cleanse the skin prior to insulin injections. For blood glucose testing, washing your hands with warm, soapy water is preferable to cleansing with alcohol to reduce soreness.
Your insulin and blood glucose monitor need to be kept at the proper temperature to ensure they work properly when you need them.
As part of a diabetes management program, you may be required to carb count or weigh and measure your food portions for weight control. There are a variety of food scales designed specifically for this purpose.
Urine Glucose Testing Strips
If you have difficulty obtaining a drop of blood, or you have some other difficulty performing blood glucose monitoring, your doctor or diabetes educator may suggest urine glucose monitoring under limited circumstances.
Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Devices
CGM monitors continuously, to let you see what’s happening between fingerstick blood glucose tests and allows you to see glucose levels, tends and patterns. The technology can be costly however so it is important to check your insurance coverage and discuss the cost versus benefit with a qualified health care professional