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Diabetes: Items You Need to Manage Your Health

You can manage your diabetes better and with less stress if you know that you've got everything you need to care for it. You'll also know you're prepared in case of diabetes emergencies.

Use this guide to diabetes-care supplies to help make sure you're always well-stocked. If you're a young adult just starting to live on your own or are new to caring for an older person with diabetes, this guide can help you start off on the right foot.

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Glucose Monitoring Supplies

A glucose monitoring kit helps you track the sugar levels in your blood. It lets you know when they are getting high or low. Many kits include:

  • Glucose testing strips
  • A monitor, which usually gives readouts within 5 seconds
  • A carrying case for the meter and, if you take insulin, your insulin, pens, needles, and alcohol swabs
  • Lancets and lancing devices
  • Liquid kits, to make sure your meter readings are correct

Some kits include other items, like a clear cap for testing on different parts of your body. All monitors have a memory feature that keeps track of your past glucose readings. Some will compute your daily average blood sugar.

If you have problems with your eyesight, some monitors have a voice function that tells you how to check your sugar and gives you your test result. Some monitors also have a larger font size. Contact the National Federation for the Blind for a list of products that can help.

If your kit doesn't include one, it's useful to also have:

Must-Haves if You Use Insulin

If you inject insulin for your diabetes, you'll want to have these supplies on hand:

  • Insulin
  • Syringes, or disposable or reusable insulin pens
  • Needles
  • A sharps container for safely disposing of needles
  • Glucose tablets or gels
  • 2 glucagon shot kits

Depending on where you live, you may be able to buy needles and syringes in bulk without a prescription. If you buy extra supplies of insulin to cut costs, store bottles that aren't open in the refrigerator until they expire. You may need to store pens or cartridges another way -- ask your pharmacist. You can bring cold insulin to room temperature just before using it so you have less pain and irritation. Or you can keep a bottle you're using at room temperature for up to a month. But after a month, throw out any opened insulin that isn't used.

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Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

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Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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