Tips For Choosing The Right Diabetic Testing Supplies

diabetic testing supplies

When you are diagnosed with diabetes, there are a lot of factors to consider. Your diet, exercise habits and other lifestyle choices can all affect your blood sugar levels. Although many people with diabetes talk extensively with their doctor about medications or insulin to manage blood sugar, most overlook the importance of choosing the right diabetic testing supplies. When it comes to testing supplies, making the right choice allows you to have comfort in the accuracy of your blood sugar readings.

diabetic testing supplies
 
Maintaining blood sugar levels within a healthy range is essential for all individuals with diabetes. Eating patterns, physical activity levels, and taking medications or insulin can cause your blood sugar to fluctuate. That is why it is so important to frequently test your blood sugar levels.
 
There is a lot of variability in the type and quality of testing supplies available. The good news is that there is a brand (or several brands) for your unique needs. However, this also means that not all diabetic testing supplies are created equal. Getting low-quality supplies can cause your blood sugar measurements to be inaccurate. This can be dangerous, as it could cause you to accidentally enter a hypoglycemic or hyperglycemic state. Poor accuracy of testing supplies may also make it more difficult for you to predict the effects of food or physical activity on your resulting blood sugar levels. This is a challenge for individuals trying to establish a healthy routine.
 
How to Choose the Best Diabetic Testing Supplies

There are many brands of diabetic testing supplies. Choosing the right one will ensure that you stay healthy and continue to manage your diabetes well. Consider some of the following tips to select the best diabetic testing supplies:
 
Experiment with different brands of test strips. When you visit your diabetes doctor, ask for recommendations on types of test strips to purchase. Some doctors even offer sample test strips to allow you to try new brands. It is worthwhile to experiment with several types of test strips to get a sense of what you like and dislike.

Buy more test strips than you think you need. During the experimentation phase, you may try numerous brands of test strips. Don’t worry if you think you have too many. Buying more than you think you will need gives you the flexibility to test your blood sugar frequently, allowing you to gauge whether the test strips are reliable. If you end up with extra diabetes testing supplies, sell them for cash.

Think about size and shape of test strips. The size and shape of test strips can affect the user experience. Curved test strips create more surface area for blood collection. Similarly, larger test strips require more blood to get an accurate reading, while smaller strips require less.

Investigate wicking technology. It is desirable for the blood glucose test strips to quickly absorb blood, allowing you to get a quick measurement from your testing meter. Test strips vary in the type of wicking technology used. Try a few to get a sense of which work best for you.

Read the instructions on blood glucose measurement. Different strips work with meters differently. For some, you must place the blood upon the strip before inserting it into the glucose meter. Other test strips should be placed into the meter before you apply blood to them. Also take note of where on the strip the blood must be placed.

Consider cost and insurance coverage. Insurance coverage for diabetes testing supplies varies by provider. Contact your insurance provider to ask what types of test supplies are covered. Many insurance companies recommend specific supplies or will only reimburse you for a certain dollar amount. This may affect the type of test strips and glucose meter you choose.

Evaluate user experience for glucose meters. Diabetes often leads to numbness or tingling in the hands, coordination problems and blurred vision. Keep these symptoms in mind when choosing a glucose meter. Look for a meter that is easy to use, a comfortable size, and has large buttons and a large print monitor.

Author bio: Thomas Boston founded Cash Now Offer with the goal to help diabetics get the supplies they need. Boston’s company offers cash for diabetic test supplies in order to help with the financial side of diabetes. 

Diabetes Supplies

close up of insulin syringes

Finding the right diabetes supplies is important. Especially in today’s financial climate, you want to get the best supplies at the best value. At diabeteswellbeing.com, we are committed to seeking out the best supplies possible, whether it is diabetes test strips, glucose meters, journals, etc.

There is a tremendous amount of resources located on this site regarding how to get the best deal, or just to pick the right item based on your individual needs. This page is just the tip of the iceberg, so please look around starting at the home page.

If you find a resource worth mentioning, please contact us and we will see about sharing it with others

Test Strips

freestyle-lite-test-stripsIf you use a blood glucose meter, then you absolutely need to check out our Diabetic Test Strips price comparison page. There, we compare the prices on test strips from the TOP online sources. Stop buying your strips at the drugstore. Check out the price comparisons and save!!

Blood Glucose Meters

blood-glucose-metersOnly to brag a little, we feel have the best information regarding glucose meters that exists on the Internet in one place. We have amazing comparison charts and some great resources about why some meters are accurate and others are not. Get started with the reviews, link below.

Puzzled about how to pick your next glucose meter? Try reading How to Choose a Diabetes Glucose Meter – The Top 12 Factors.

After your done there, take a look at our Blood Glucose Meter Reviews. We have reviewed over 40 different meters – and counting!

Insulin Pumps

insulin-pumpChoosing the right insulin pump can be difficult. Learn what the types of insulin pump currently on the market are. If you are curious about the right insulin pump price, then check out this article.

We even thought it would be neat to learn who invented the insulin pump. The answer may surprise you. Hint: You have seen one of his other inventions in the mall!

After you look at those articles, check out our Insulin Pump Reviews. We examine all of the top brands and models available today.

Other Diabetes Items

Here we have detailed the Top 10 Factors for Choosing Socks for Diabetics. Interestingly, there is a lot that goes into finding the right diabetic socks. We have also broken down the top considerations for choosing Shoes for Diabetics.

Also, check out the coolest Diabetic Medical Alert Bracelets and an overview of all Diabetic Testing Equipment you may want to use.

Insulin Pump Infusion Sets – What You Need To Know?

infusion-set2All pumps have what are called Insulin Pump Infusion Sets, except the OmniPod. An infusion set brings the insulin from your pump into your body. The set consists of a thin plastic tube, a connective devise (almost like an industrial strength band-aid) on your skin, and a small needle like device that extends under your skin (called a cannula).

Infusion sets are typically changed every three days. Some insulin pumps use a standard luer-lock connection. Thus, you can use the manufacturer’s infusion set or any set made by a third party (often less expensive).

Other pumps have non-standard or proprietary infusion sets, which require you to purchase the company brand. The MiniMed Paradigm has a proprietary set, but you can get an adapter from the company that will then allow you to use a luer-lock.

CANNULA CONSIDERATIONS

While infusion sets are fairly straight forward, you will want to give special consideration to the cannula or device that actually will be inserted into your body to deliver the insulin. Most cannula’s are made of flexible plastic or steel (essentially a small needle).

Steel cannulas are rare, but some people do use them. Other cannula characteristics include the length, angle of insertion and overall size (guage). The level of activity (very active) and the person’s physical characteristic will dictate what is appropriate.

For example, a thin active person will have a smaller length than a person with a lot of excess fat. Needle Shy? If you are really needle shy, you may also want to consider an infusion set that has a device that inserts the cannula with the press of a button, rather than one that requires you to manually insert it.

TUBING CONSIDERATIONS

Also, disconnecting the tubing is important. If you play rugby (rough sport), swim, or even when you bathe, you may need to take off your insulin pump. The ease of connecting and disconnecting the tubing will be important.

Some infusion sets disconnect right at the cannula. Sometimes this is difficult for people with poor finger dexterity or poor vision, as they have a difficult time seeing the connection.

Instead, you can get infusion sets that allow you to disconnect several inches away from the cannula, thus there is a few inches of tubing that remains attached to the device.

COST AND OPTIONS

The most obvious consideration is the length of tubing. If you are 6 foot, 5 inches, you will need a longer piece of tubing that if you are 5 foot, 2 inches.
Buying an insulin pump is not inexpensive and neither is running one on a day to day basis. Each infusion set costs anywhere from $10 per set up to $20 or more. Sometimes you can get better deals if you buy in bulk.

If insurance is not paying for your sets, you will want to study the pricing closely to make sure you do not buy a pump that has super expensive infusion sets.

Diabetic Medical Alert Bracelets

Diabetic medical alert bracelets or necklaces should be a “must have” if you have diabetes, and it’s not just me saying it. The 2012 Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes published by the Americans with Diabetes Association states that having such an accessory should be mandatory.

What’s all the fuss? Well, complications from diabetes can cause two things to happen to you. First, you can pass out, typically from hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Second, you can become confused, disoriented and/or incoherent through changes in your blood sugar. With either of these two scenarios, you may not be able to communicate with first responders.

If either of these events occur, it is critical to alert medical or other emergency personal about what may be causing the problem. After all, you don’t want them treating you for alcohol or drug abuse! Seconds count so make it easy on them.

WHAT TYPE OF MEDICAL ALERT SHOULD YOU GET?

EMT’s are trained to look for diabetic medical alert bracelets and necklaces. In fact, most EMT certification exams incorporate this safety protocol.

Anecdotally, many EMT’s prefer bracelets because they are faster and easier to find. They will typically be checking your pulse on your wrist so it is very easy to locate the alert.

Some people also incorporate a USB drive into the alert with a more detailed medical history and emergency contact information. While this information is not required nor typically used by EMT’s it maybe helpful for the hospital personnel.

WHAT SHOULD BE ON THE ALERT?

At a minimum, the following information should be included:

  • Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Condition (i.e., Type 1 or Type 2 diabetic)
  • If you take insulin, include this information.
  • If you use an insulin pump, include this information.

The date of birth is particularly important for children, as different age groups often require different treatment protocols. Other information may be helpful or required; you may want to check with your doctor.

WHERE CAN I GET THE COOLEST DIABETIC MEDICAL ALERT BRACELETS?

road-id-logoGrowing up, the only medical alert bracelets I saw were large and ugly. Unfortunately, many of these bad options still exist. Nonetheless, there really are some cool options available today.

Road ID: This company is my personal favorite if you are active and want something that looks athletic and cool.

Laurens Hope: This company offers more elegant options, particularly for women and girls.

Children with Diabetes: Follow the link to this page, which has dozens of options if you don’t like the Road ID or Lauren’s Hope offerings.

SOURCES:

American Diabetes Association, Position Statement – Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes 2012, Diabetes Care, Volume 35, Suppl. 1, January 2012.

May Clinic, Diabetes Blog, Identify yourself with a diabetes medical alert ID bracelet< (accessed July 2012)

Diabetic Testing Equipment

testing equipmentDiabetic Testing Equipment comes in more forms than many people realize. The most common testing people think of is the home blood glucose or blood sugar monitors (a.k.a. glucose meters).

However, some people choose to go beyond this type of testing and do additional monitoring of there condition.

Let’s take a look at the most common type of diabetes testing equipment and whether it is something you want to begin to incorporate into your health routine.
 
 
 

BLOOD GLUCOSE TESTING EQUIPMENTS

Glucose meters are the most common type of diabetic testing done. In 2008, the worldwide market for glucose meters and supplies was $8.8 billion. I apologize for not getting more current numbers, but market size information tends to be guarded more closely than the Crown Jewels!

Nonetheless, as more people get diabetes, these numbers should rise. Either way, home glucose testing is BIG business. We have reviewed the vast majority of glucose meters available in the United States. We also did a quick glucose meter comparison guide.

Check out both of these links if you want to explore home glucose testing further.

A1C TESTING EQUIPMENTS

A1C testing is a measure of your blood sugar control over a 3 month period. Obviously, this is different than the reading you get when testing with a glucose monitor. The monitor or meter only measures your glucose levels at that moment.

The A1C test is considered a better overall measure of how you are controlling your glucose levels. I have written an extensive overview of the A1C test here.

While it is better to measure the A1C at your doctor’s office, you can now test your A1C at home with Bayer’s A1C self check system..

KETONE TESTING EQUIPMENT

precision-xtra-glucose-meterKetones are a waste product in your blood that is produced when your body converts fat to glucose. If to many ketones build up in your blood, then you can develop ketoacidosis, possibly slipping into a diabetic coma and even dying.

The condition is most common in Type 1 diabetics, but can occur in Type 2 diabetics as well. To read a complete overview of the condition, please take a look at my ketoacidosis article.

The best testing equipment that measure ketones in your blood is the Abbott Precision Xtra. Follow the link for my review of this important diabetic testing equipment item.

BLOOD PRESSURE

The last main piece of home diabetic testing equipment is the blood pressure monitor. Diabetics are more prone to developing a host of secondary medical conditions. High Blood Pressure is just one of them. I bought, and like, the Omron HEM-780 . It is a little pricier than some models, but I like the quality.

OTHER Devices

Of course there are always insulin pumps, but these tend to be for a very specific audience. I have reviewed the models available on the market in the United States.

There you have it! Many people will not buy any of the above, some of you will buy all of the diabetic testing equipment above. If I missed an item, let me know. I’ll add it to the list!

Shoes For Diabetics – Top 7 Factors!

shoes-for-diabeticsThis is our Shoes For Diabetics Guide. I will note that choosing the right foot wear will depend a little on your individual circumstances. Some people need a little extra protection, while others need custom made shoes because of deformities or other injuries.

Initially, I want to cover why special consideration need to be made for your diabetic feet, then some common guidelines. Then, we can hit some of the more popular brands and situations that you may want to be aware.

The need for special diabetic shoes is because higher blood sugar can cause a variety of problems for your feet. Most notably, high glucose levels can lead to nerve damage. When your nerves get damaged, you have a much more difficult time feeling injuries and common foot problems, such as blisters, corns, ingrown toe nails, etc.

If you injure your foot or suffer some of these common foot ailments, then it can lead to infection. Also, foot injuries often do not heal as fast or as well in diabetics. Bottom line is that as a diabetic, foot injuries can lead to much more serious conditions than for people without diabetes.

Also, take a look at our guide to socks for diabetics. Obviously, shoes and socks go hand in hand!

TOP 7 FACTORS FOR CHOOSING DIABETES SHOES

  1. What Not To Wear: Don’t wear the following: sandals, flip-flops, high heals and pointed toe shoes. All of these shoes either leave your foot exposed or unnecessarily pinch or strain your feet. Also, do not walk around in bare feet.
  2. When to Buy: Okay, let’s just say it. Your feet swell as the day goes on. Thus, buy your shoes in the afternoon, to make sure they are big enough.
  3. Material: I looked at several other guides and the opinion was a little split. The best advice is to keep it soft. I also like the advice of keeping it breathable. You do not want the material to be hard and non-pliable. This can cause blisters. Also, you want your feet to breath so they do not get too wet. Wetness causes fungus, which causes infection.
  4. Length: This is an easy one. You should have 3/8 to 1/2 inch of space at the toe, so the toes are not pinched or tight.
  5. Width: Make sure the shoe is wide enough. Again, if it is too narrow, then your foot can get pinched, causing blisters.
  6. Seams: Feel inside the shoe for seams. Also, make sure you try and notice any seams when you try it on. Seams can rub on your foot when you where them, causing blisters.
  7. Overall Fit: While covered above, the big issue here is to make the shoe not too tight. BUT, you also do not want the shoe too loose. If your foot is sloshing around in a shoe that is too large, this can cause injuries a well. How does it fit in the heal, toe, instep, balls of feet, etc.? Take the extra time to think about each aspect of your foot when it is in your shoe.

WERE AND WHAT TO BUY

Okay, you get the guidelines above and now you want to go shopping. But, what are the best brands of shoes for diabetics? Do I have to buy specific diabetes shoes or can other shoes work as well? The simple answer is it depends on you and your specific foot.

Here are Popular Brands or Shoes for Diabetics:

New Balance: New Balance diabetic shoes (arguably the most popular diabetic shoe on the market today). These shoes are not exclusively diabetic, but they are often referred to as diabetic. I love New Balance shoes because they come in a huge variety of widths and most models are very comfortable.

Drew Shoes: Drew Shoes has an EXTENSIVE offering of shoes for diabetics, one of the best available. They have walking shoes, hiking shoes, and reasonably fashionable shoes.

Propet:

ECCO: These shoes are not branded as diabetic, but I find the shoes very comfortable.

Diabetic Slippers: Of all the different types of shoes, I will say for most people, you can find a good pair of regular slippers without having to pick exclusively from “diabetic” brands. However, here are some top diabetic slipper brands.

Bandwagon

Foamtreads

SOURCES:

American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society, Shoes and Orthodics for Diabetics

Socks For Diabetics – Top 10 Factors!

socks-for-diabeticSocks for Diabetics, really? Who knew you needed special diabetes socks? I will briefly take a look at why special socks are needed. Then, we will jump into the Top 10 Factors for choosing the right ones. Finally, I will finish off with some of the top brands to locations to purchase.

There are a variety of reasons why diabetics need special foot protection. The main reason is that 60-70 percent of diabetics develop some form of neuropathy in their feet. Essentially, the elevated level of blood sugar causes damage to your nerves, most often in the feet or legs, although it can occur in other locations as well.

If your nerves are damaged, then you can’t feel what I going on with your feet. Also, the elevated blood sugar can cause decreased blood flow to your feet, slowing the healing process. Thus, small things can easily become much bigger problems. That blister or small cut, can easily become infected and very hard to heal.

So, where do the socks fit in? You want socks that don’t do any damage to your feet. For example, they should be too tight or have heavy seems on them that can cause blisters. They also need to keep moisture away from your feet so the risk of infections is reduced.

TOP 10 FACTORS

These factors are not in any particular order of importance. Also, even if you choose the perfect sock, make sure you through them away if they get any holes in them or become worn.

  1. Fit: You want socks that fit. They should not be too tight, which can cause circulation and other problems. Likewise, they should not be too big, since these can cause blisters.
  2. Clean: Okay, messy Marvin, make sure you put on clean socks daily. If your socks are soiled then they can more easily cause infections.
  3. Dry: You want socks that keep your feet dry. If your feet are damp or moist, then fungus can more easily grow. This factor overlaps a variety of other factors, such as the material you choose.
  4. Thickness: Try and avoid a very bulky sock. Obviously, if you are going snowshoeing, you want a thick sock that can keep you warm. However, bulky socks can cause extra moisture and/or can cause bunching, which can lead to blisters, etc. Try and balance your activity level with the appropriate socks for diabetics.
  5. Shape: Square toes work best because they won’t squeeze your toes.
  6. Elastic Tops: Some socks have very tight elastic tops. Obviously, you want socks to stay up, but socks for diabetics need to not squeeze your calves/ankles too much. Many diabetic socks have a special weave on the top to keep the sock up without unduly squeezing your leg.
  7. Seams: The less seams the better. Large seams can cause your feet to rub unnecessarily, leading to injuries.
  8. Color: If at all possible, where light colored socks, so you can see if any injuries have occurred.
  9. Cushion Sole: As stated above, you want to avoid bulky socks. However, a little extra cushion on the sole of the sock can be helpful. As we get, ahem, older, the soles of our feet become more sensitive.
  10. Material: This is the big issue for diabetic socks. Some folks say man made material is better, such as acrylic. Other folks say natural material is best, such as cotton or wool. Let’s take a look at each material:

Acrylic: Some argue that man made material will wick moisture away from your skin better than some materials, most notably cotton.

Cotton: Thick cotton is probably not the best, as it will trap moisture. Also, if you live in a cold climate, the moisture that is trapped in the cotton can cause your feet to get really cold, which you will not feel as much, or at all, if you have neuropathy. Thin cotton socks can be good if you live in a warmer climate or are working out.

Wool: Wool is great for keeping your feet warm and wicking moisture. If you live in a cold climate, these socks are great. Even if you live in a warmer climate, you should investigate thin wool socks to see if they work for you.

Blended: Cotton-wool blend or a synthetic-natural material blend can also be good depending upon your circumstances.

Bottom line is that the material you choose will have a lot to do with what you are doing and the climate you are doing it in when chosing socks for diabetics.

WERE AND WHAT SOCKS FOR DIABETES TO BUY

First, I am not aware of any study that says you have to buy a particular brand of socks or even a sock that is made specifically for diabetics. So, if you find a sock that matches up with the above. Don’t be afraid to buy it, even if they are not branded as socks for diabetics.

I will say that the Dr. Sholls diabetic socks are very popular. However, other top brands are as well. Here are some links for some top brands that can be had at a discount:

Dr. Scholls

Physicians Choice

Wigwam

SOURCES:

Informal Diabetic Foot Study (accessed May 2012)

American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society,The Diabetic Foot (accessed May 2012)

 

Who Invented The Insulin Pump?

dean-kamenWho invented the insulin pump? Want to know all about insulin pump history? This is the place!

Prior to the insulin pump, many diabetics depended on numerous round the clock insulin injections. Some were even confined to the hospital because of their insulin dependency. Then along came a college kid, eventual college dropout, who revolutionized the insulin injection process.

Dean Kamen was an undergraduate student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute when he invented the first portable infusion pump. An infusion pump is a device that puts medication or other fluids into a persons blood or circulatory system. This device was the precursor of the insulin pump and revolutionized medication delivery for a variety of conditions including chemotherapy and others.

Dean formed his first company called Auto Syringe and continued to further develop multiple uses for his portable infusion pump, most notably the portable insulin pump. He sold AutoSyringe to Baxter Health Care when he was only 30 years old in 1981.

WHO WAS DEAN KAMEN

If the name Dean Kamen sounds familiar, it should. Dean has invented hundreds of devices. Arguably his most famous invention was the Segway PT. The Segway is that self propelled, self balancing people mover.

For those of you who have seen the movie Mall Cop, or even been to a shopping mall lately, you have seen the security guards patrolling with the Segway. In many major cities within the United States such as Boston and Miami, they have even begun to offer tours on the people mover. Probably a lot safer for tourists than renting a moped in Boston or Miami traffic!!

Since Dean invented the insulin pump invention, numerous advances have occurred. The most recent advances include wireless communication between the pump and glucose meter, and advanced software to track and determine injection schedules.

Dean Kamen lived in Bedford, New Hampshire. He was born April 5, 1951.

SOURCES:

Ideafinder.com