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Guidelines for Buying and Using Diabetes Supplies

Will my insurance company pay for the medicines and supplies I need?

Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. And it is estimated that it costs the nation $170 billion annually. As a result, 46 states have mandated that insurers must cover diabetes medicine, supplies, and equipment. But you may have to engage in a letter-writing campaign to get your health insurer to pay for certain medical devices. Also, if you're on Medicare or Medicaid, you can check online to see if these government programs will reimburse you for diabetes supplies.

How do I store diabetes medications and supplies?

If you take insulin, your doctor or diabetes educator will give you full instructions for storing it and using it effectively. Some diabetes drug manufacturers suggest storing the insulin in the refrigerator. Yet, as anyone with diabetes will tell you, injecting cold insulin into the body can be painful.

To avoid a painful, cold injection, many diabetes educators suggest keeping insulin at room temperature while it's being used. Insulin should last about one month at room temperature. Many people prefer to keep the diabetes supplies in a kitchen or bedroom drawer. That way, the glucose monitor, syringes, insulin, lancets, alcohol swabs, and other necessary supplies are always together and available for use.

Always think ahead. You never want to risk being without the supplies and medicine you need. Keep extra supplies on hand to reduce the risk of a diabetic emergency. If you use insulin, you can store extra bottles in the refrigerator and take a bottle out so it has time to warm to room temperature before giving yourself an injection.

Never freeze insulin or store it in a hot location. If you purchase insulin from a pharmacy, be sure to take it home soon after buying it to avoid extreme temperatures. Also, keep test strips dry, and don't expose them to moisture or extreme heat or cold or you may damage the integrity of the strip.

How can I remember to use my diabetes supplies?

The American Diabetes Association suggests trying memory aids. Here are some that may work for you:

  • Connect diabetes blood glucose testing and taking medications to other daily hygiene habits. For example, connect it to taking your morning shower, brushing your teeth, or washing your face.
  • Always keep your insulin and blood glucose monitor nearby. Store them in the same location so you can use them immediately at the proper times.
  • Create a daily blood testing and medication habit by taking the same medication and doing the testing regimen in the same manner and at the same time each day. The longer you continue to test and treat diabetes as a part of a daily routine, the greater the chances of avoiding serious diabetes complications.
  • Set a timer each morning when you first awaken to remind you of the next blood test and medication dose.
  • Make a reminder chart of various tasks you must do daily. Mark off each task -- whether it's taking medication or doing a blood glucose test -- as you finish it.

WebMD Medical Reference

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

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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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