If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with diabetes, a variety of diabetic test supplies are available to help achieve and maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Diabetic Test Supplies: Blood Glucose Monitors
A good blood glucose monitor is one of the most essential diabetes supplies. Glucose monitors generally work with single-use test strips, so you’ll need to visit the pharmacy regularly to re-supply, or arrange a mail delivery plan.
Most medical insurance organizations cover the expense of glucose monitors and other diabetic medical supplies. Here are some features to look for when choosing your blood sugar monitor:
- Ease of use
- Large readout, or audio results for the visually challenged
- Memory to keep records of as many as 500 tests
- Multi-site testing (if your doctor recommends)
- Quick results, in as little as five seconds
- Small blood sample requirement (Lancet doesn’t poke as deeply.)
- Software to sync with your computer.
Non-Invasive Glucose Monitors
Researchers are perfecting technology that will give accurate blood sugar readings without a drop of blood. A bloodless glucose monitor was initially approved in 2001. However, these diabetic test supplies were discontinued due to reports of skin irritation and lack of accuracy. If approved by the FDA, the new device, which appears promising in testing, will read glucose levels through the skin and wirelessly transmit results to a hand-held meter or nearby computer.
Diabetic Test Supplies: Lancing Devices and Lancets
Basic diabetes supplies include lancets and lancing devices.
A lancet is a device that punctures the skin to get a blood drop for testing. These diabetic test supplies are available in different gauges. The higher the gauge, the smaller the metal point. Higher gauge lancets are more comfortable to use, although you may have trouble getting enough blood for a sample.
Some people prefer to use a lancing device to get a blood sample. Lancing devices use a spring mechanism to prick the skin with a lancet.
Diabetes Supplies for Insulin Delivery
All type 1 diabetics and some people with type 2 diabetes need to include insulin in their diabetic supplies. Most insulin users use a needle and syringe to deliver insulin, although this is not the only option. Here are some other insulin delivery methods:
- Insulin jet injectors: An insulin jet injector uses pressure rather than a needle. Some claim that a jet injector is less painful than diabetes supplies that use a needle.
- Insulin pens: An insulin pen is like a syringe, but has pre-filled insulin cartridges. These diabetic medical supplies may be easier to use for the visually impaired.
- Insulin pumps: A small infusion set is inserted into the skin and attached to the pump by a long, thin tube. The insulin pump is programmed for the individual and delivers minute amounts of baseline insulin on an ongoing basis.
New Diabetic Medical Supplies
Scientists are currently working toward easier ways to deliver insulin to the body. Here are some new trends in diabetic medical supplies:
- Diabetes oral insulin: Currently available in Ecuador, and Canada (on a limited basis), a diabetes oral insulin spray may soon be available in the United States.
- Inhaled insulin: the FDA approved the first inhaled insulin system in 2006. Due to a lack of acceptance by doctors and patients, however, the manufacturer discontinued these diabetic medical supplies in 2007. Several companies are currently working to create inhaled insulin delivery systems.
- Insulin patch: The FDA has recently approved an insulin patch-pen. The insulin patch adheres to a patient’s skin, and can hold and deliver prescribed amounts of insulin for multiple days, during normal activities, including exercise and showering.
Beaser, R. S.