Technological advances have made the essential equipment to monitor diabetes easier to use with greater accuracy.
A diabetes test can measure glucose, acetone and ketones. You can find supplies for each test.
You may already know that diabetic testing measures the amount of glucose in your blood. For decades, diabetic individuals have used a blood sugar monitor, or glucometer, to measure their glucose levels before meals. This is certainly essential equipment to monitor diabetes. With most monitors, you need lancets to prick fingers cleaned with alcohol swabs, in addition to either glucose blood test strips or disks. Glucose blood test strips are single-use, disposable plastic strips impregnated with chemicals that allow the blood sugar monitor to measure the concentration of glucose in the test sample. Most glucometers for home use measure the glucose in whole blood, but some can now measure serum glucose levels, making it easier for you to compare your home test results with those of the laboratory. Like the improvements in cell phones, advances have resulted in smaller glucose monitors with handy features. Many store up to 450 test results, but some can store 3,000 in memory. With greater memory, your unit may analyze your test results over several days or weeks, calculating trends and revealing how well you control your glucose levels or how well your insulin works. You’ll use your glucometer up to ten times a day, and pricked fingertips can get sore. Thanks to technological advances, a newer diabetes monitor isn’t the bloodthirsty guardian your grandmother might have used. Modern glucometers use less blood than their precursors, allowing users to draw test samples from other sites. If you cannot tolerate sore fingers, inject over three times a day, want more flexibility in your lifestyle, or have troubling bouts of hypoglycemia, you may be a candidate for an insulin pump. An insulin pump is a device that you clip on your waistband or belt. Battery-operated and the size of a pager, it pumps small doses of insulin into the body through a cannula inserted under the skin. The amount of insulin in each dose depends on data from the glucometer. Since insulin influences another vital function, you may need additional diabetic testing supplies.
If you have diabetes monitor your ketones. Everyone, diabetic or not, generates ketones, the chemical compounds the liver makes to convert fat to muscle fuel. Because this happens when you don’t have enough insulin to convert glucose to muscle fuel, individuals with diabetes can accumulate too many ketones in their blood. Called “ketoacidosis” or DKA, the blood’s ketone concentration rises, making the blood too acidic. Symptoms can include extreme thirst, a dry mouth, confusion and fatigue. Since ketoacidosis can be fatal, individuals with diabetes test their blood with ketone blood test strips to monitor their levels. With convenient diabetic testing supplies, you can monitor your glucose levels anywhere, but you’ll also need to respond to the information you learn.
Injecting insulin stabilizes glucose levels. There are four types of insulin, categorized by behavior, so you may try several types before finding the best one for you. Your initial treatment kit can contain your glucometer or blood sugar monitor, alcohol pads, test strips or disk, and your needles, syringe and insulin in a small case. However, you may be able to use an insulin pen instead of needles and syringes. Insulin pens are devices that have a cartridge of insulin housed in a tube. The tube has an adjustable dose dial and an injection button at one end and a sheathed needle at the other. Users remove the sheath, dial their dose, place the needle-end against their skin and press the injection button. With an insulin pen, you no longer need a sharps container for needle disposal at home. This also makes carrying your kit easier as you eliminate a bottle of insulin and separate needle and syringe. There are two types of insulin pumps: durable and prefilled. If you want a pen to use repeatedly, choose a durable insulin pen. Prefilled pens are single-use and disposable.
Chronic health challenges are expensive. Start by looking through your health insurance or select new insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s programs. Additionally, you may find a private insurance policy for high-risk individuals, but the premiums can be burdensome. If you’re feeling creative, you might create a GoFundMe campaign to stock a savings account with donations. Before pursuing one of the more complicated supply strategies, note that pharmaceutical companies often have programs that offset some prescription costs and provide free diabetic supplies. Through Partnership for Prescription Assistance, you can find free glucose meters and discount programs for insulin syringes. In addition to essential equipment to monitor diabetes, the American Diabetes Association can help you find discounts for equipment and services dealing with the impact diabetes can have on your mind and body.
Diabetes affects every body system, and while you monitor your glucose and ketone levels, you’ll also watch for complications. Foot problems are common and may show the first signs of nerve damage with tingling and weakness, and the resulting poor blood flow can lead to amputation. To control calluses and preserve circulation, consider buying a pedicure kit and lotion for extremely dry skin. Since walking and mild exercise improve circulation, watch for sales on new walking shoes and compression socks while shopping for free diabetic supplies. Nerve damage also impacts your circulation, causing gastroparesis. This disorder leads the stomach and intestines to empty too slowly. When this happens, you may feel stomach wall spasms, develop gastric reflux, lose your appetite, feel bloated and vomit the undigested food. Pharmaceutical companies may include the medications that treat gastroparesis in their discount programs so look out for essential equipment to monitor diabetes so you know when you need them.
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