There are all kinds diabetic supplies and gadgets for people with type 1 diabetes, some more vital than others. They range from essential blood sugar testing gear and insulin delivery systems to diabetes-related tote bags and T-shirts. First, the important stuff:
Blood sugar testing and insulin administration
Accurate blood sugar testing and the administration of insulin are two extremely important endeavors for anyone with type 1 diabetes. We’ll start there.
As of now, there is no cure for diabetes (of any kind), but you can manage it. For active young people with type 1 diabetes, that means having the diabetic supplies you need for checking your blood-glucose levels several times each day, and then tweaking the amount of insulin you take, according to the results of your blood-glucose tests.
Blood-glucose monitors and test strips
There are a lot of blood-glucose monitors you can choose from. They all work basically like this: You put a drop of blood on a diabetes test strip, (a thin piece of plastic made especially for this purpose) and the glucose in your blood reacts with substances on the strip, causing it to turn blue. Typically, you insert the strip into a small, hand-held meter, which reads and displays your glucose levels (BSL).
There are several methods of administering insulin:
A number of sources of diabetic supplies offer a variety of syringes for delivering insulin. Let your doctor help you choose a syringe that’s right for you, and for the amount of insulin you’ll be taking.
An insulin pump is a cell-phone sized, battery-operated computer that you wear on your waistband, belt, or other piece of clothing. The body of the computer also houses a container of insulin, which you can refill, as needed. A flexible tube leads from the pump to an infusion set, which is inserted beneath your skin, and allows the insulin to be delivered. You program the pump’s computer to deliver an even dose of insulin, throughout the day, depending on the amount and type of insulin you use.
You can also override the computer’s program, to give yourself an insulin boost when you need it (like before you eat). Vendors of diabetic supplies offer a variety of pumps, so you should have little trouble finding one that’s comfortable for you.
Another benefit of insulin pumps is that you can leave the infusion set in place for up to three days before you have to move the site of the injection. That means a lot fewer needle jabs.
Follow the links below for information on specific models of insulin pumps from diabetic supplies vendors.
Insulin pump infusion sets
Most insulin pumps deliver insulin into your body by way of an infusion set. This includes the flexible tube that connects to the pump, connectors, and a cannula, which is a small, soft tapering tube that you insert under your skin at the infusion site (the needle does not stay under your skin). There are quite a few different infusion sets on the market because different people may prefer different types.
Diabetic supplies vendors offer a lot of choices, including these: metal or Teflon, different tubing lengths, needle sizes, a variety of connecting and disconnect mechanisms and inserter types. Check the following:
An Insulin pen is an insulin delivery system that uses disposable needles and insulin cartridges (instead of vials). And, it looks like a pen. (Duh!)
Some of these pens use replaceable insulin cartridges; some use non-replaceable cartridges, so you throw them away after you’ve used them (most diabetic supplies vendors offer both types). All of them use replaceable needles. Most of these devices use special pen needles, which tend to be very short and thin.
Dosing with a pen is pretty easy. Load the cartridge, attach a pen needle, prime, dial in the dosage, inject the needle, and press a button to deliver the insulin.
Pfizer, a diabetic supplies vendor and pharmaceuticals company, has recently introduced a new type of insulin, called Exubera, which can be inhaled, using a device similar to asthma inhalers. At this point, however, it’s not for everyone. It’s been approved only for those 18 years old and older who are on larger doses of insulin.
Click here for more information on inhaled insulin.
Other diabetic supplies
There is a vast array of diabetic accessories on the market, ranging from insulin refrigerators, syringe holders, insulin pen coolers, injection aids, and ID bracelets, to diabetic foot-warmers, and electronic cookbooks.
There’s also quite a selection of special software for diabetics available for your computer and cell phones.
Sources of information for this article:
If you’ve found this article on Diabetic Supplies to be helpful, read Diabetes Prevention.