Guidelines for Buying and Using Diabetes Supplies
Are there devices that can help manage diabetes?
There are many new tools that can help people with diabetes manage this disease just as they manage other facets of their lives. For instance, increasingly sophisticated software programs are available that allow you to track and analyze trends in blood sugar levels over a period of time. These programs allow you to download and store data from a blood glucose meter directly onto a computer or cell phone and then view charts that show what percentage of time your glucose levels were within normal ranges. You will also be able to see what percentage of time they were above or below normal. These programs do more than just help you understand when glucose levels change and when they stay stable. They also let your doctor review the same data in order to make recommendations that help you stay well.
Another way you can help manage diabetes is by using a continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMS). A CGMS is an FDA-approved device that records blood sugar levels throughout the day and night. This technology allows you to use the results of glucose monitoring to make informed decisions about nutrition, activity level, and medication.
Other tools include smaller, disposable glucose monitors that can be worn directly on the skin and concealed under clothing. And there are combination tools that let you monitor blood glucose and administer insulin therapy with one piece of equipment.
What about insulin pumps?
An insulin pump can help you keep blood sugar at a more steady level and may make diabetes management easier. Insulin pumps are quite expensive -- usually more than $6,000. And you must also purchase monthly supplies to use with the pumps. Because diabetes is a life-long illness, investing in an insulin pump may be wise for some patients with diabetes but extremely costly for others. Many insurers cover the cost of insulin pumps, but you have to adhere to some strict guidelines to get reimbursed.
Are there tips to help me be a smart shopper for diabetes supplies?
- Before you buy diabetes supplies, check for the best prices.
- Buy diabetes products from a highly reputable company and/or pharmacy.
- Always check the dates on diabetes drugs. Return any medication that are outdated or that may expire soon.
- Return glucose meters that are defective. You never know if a meter has been dropped or damaged during shipping, and you don't want to risk your life on a faulty glucose meter.
- If test strips have been opened, return them for a new package that is unopened to ensure integrity.