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Here’s what you need to know about diabetic supplies

Here’s what you need to know about diabetic supplies

Apria Editorial |

If you have diabetes or have just been diagnosed with diabetes, you may be wondering what kind of diabetic equipment and supplies you need to manage your condition. Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects how your body uses glucose, a type of sugar that provides energy for your cells. When you have diabetes, your body either does not make enough insulin or cannot use it properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose enter your cells.

Without enough insulin or proper insulin action, glucose builds up in your blood instead of going into your cells. This can cause high blood sugar levels, which can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, eye damage, and more. To prevent or delay these complications, you need to keep your blood sugar levels within a target range that your doctor will recommend.

To do this, you need to monitor your blood glucose levels regularly and take medications such as insulin or other drugs that lower blood sugar. You also need to follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and check your feet for any signs of injury or infection. To help you with these tasks, you need various diabetic equipment and supplies that can make your life easier and safer.

Learn more about diets for diabetics

What are the types of diabetic testing supplies and how do they work?

There are two main categories of diabetes supplies: glucose monitors and insulin injectors.

Glucose monitors
Glucose monitors are devices that measure your blood sugar levels at any given time. They help you track how your blood sugar levels change throughout the day and how they are affected by factors such as food, exercise, stress, illness, medications, etc. They also help you adjust your insulin doses or other medications accordingly.

There are two types of glucose monitors: continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) and blood glucose meters (BGMs).

Continuous glucose monitors (CGMs)
CGMs are devices that provide continuous updates of your blood sugar levels every few minutes. They consist of three parts:

  1. A sensor that sits underneath your skin and measures the glucose level in your interstitial fluid (the fluid between your cells).
  2. A transmitter that rests on top of your skin and sends data wirelessly to a connected device or app.
  3. A receiver device that collects and displays the data on a screen or a smartphone app.

CGMs can show you not only your current blood sugar level but also the direction and speed of change. They can also alert you when your blood glucose level is too high or too low or when it is changing rapidly. This can help you prevent or treat hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) before they become dangerous.

Some CGMs require calibration using a BGM at least once or twice a day to ensure accuracy. Others do not need calibration but may still require occasional confirmation with a BGM. CGMs are usually worn for 7 to 14 days before they need to be replaced.

Blood glucose meters (BGMs)
BGMs are devices that require a finger prick test to collect a small drop of blood and measure its glucose level. They consist of three parts:

  1. A lancet that pierces your skin to draw blood.
  2. A test strip that absorbs the blood sample and reacts with a chemical to produce an electrical signal.
  3. A meter that reads the signal and displays the result on a screen.

BGMs are generally less expensive than CGMs but require more frequent testing throughout the day. They are also more accurate than CGMs but may be affected by user error or environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, altitude, etc. BGMs are usually used once and then discarded.

Shop diabetes supplies

Insulin injectors
Insulin injectors are devices that allow you to deliver insulin into your body. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose enter your cells and lowers your blood sugar level. If you have type 1 diabetes, you need to take insulin every day because your body does not produce any insulin on its own. If you have type 2 diabetes, you may need to take insulin if other medications and lifestyle changes are not enough to control your blood sugar level.

There are different types of insulin injectors, including:

Syringes are the most common and traditional form of insulin delivery. They consist of a needle attached to a plastic tube that holds the insulin. You need to draw the insulin from a vial into the syringe and then inject it into your skin, usually in your abdomen, thigh, arm, or buttock. You need to use a new syringe and needle for each injection and dispose of them safely in a container.

Pen needles are similar to syringes but more convenient and discreet. They consist of a cartridge that holds the insulin and a pen-like device that has a dial to set the dose and a button to release the insulin. You need to attach a disposable needle to the pen and then inject it into your skin, usually in the same areas as syringes. You need to use a new needle for each injection and dispose of it safely in a sharps container. You can reuse the pen until the cartridge is empty and then replace it with a new one.

Insulin pumps are devices that provide insulin continuously throughout the day and night through a thin tube called a catheter that is inserted under your skin, usually in your abdomen. The pump is attached to a belt or pocket and has buttons to adjust the dose and deliver extra insulin when needed. You need to change the catheter every 2 to 3 days and refill the pump with insulin every few days. Pumps can be more expensive than syringes or pens but can offer more flexibility and control over your blood sugar level.

What are the benefits of using diabetes supplies?

Using diabetes supplies can help you manage your diabetes better and prevent or delay complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, eye damage, infections, and more which are commonly associated with this condition.

Diabetes treatment has come a long way, and using diabetes supplies can also help you improve your quality of life by:

  • Reducing the risk of hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia
  • Reducing the frequency and severity of symptoms such as thirst, hunger, fatigue, blurred vision, etc.
  • Reducing the stress and anxiety associated with diabetes
  • Increasing your confidence and self-esteem
  • Enhancing your physical and mental well-being

How do you choose the right diabetes supplies for your needs?

You should consult with your doctor or diabetes educator before deciding on which diabetes supplies to use. They can help you determine what type of glucose monitor and insulin injector is best suited for your condition and how to use them correctly. They can also help you find out what options are available for you in terms of cost, convenience, quality, and reliability.

Some questions you may want to ask your doctor or diabetes educator include:

  1. How often do I need to check my blood sugar level?
  2. What are my target blood sugar ranges?
  3. How do I adjust my insulin doses or other medications based on my blood sugar readings?
  4. What are the pros and cons of different types of glucose monitors and insulin injectors?
  5. How do I use them properly and safely?
  6. How do I store and dispose of them?
  7. How do I troubleshoot them if they malfunction or give inaccurate results?
  8. How do I get them covered by insurance or Medicare?
  9. How do I order them online or in-store?

How do you use diabetes supplies correctly and safely?

Using a diabetic supply correctly and safely is essential for getting accurate results and avoiding complications such as infections, injuries, or allergic reactions. Here are some general tips on how to use diabetes supplies correctly and safely:

Glucose monitors

  • Follow the instructions that come with your glucose monitor carefully.
  • Wash your hands before testing your blood sugar level.
  • Clean the site where you will insert the sensor or prick your finger with alcohol or soap and water.
  • Insert the sensor or prick your finger gently and firmly.
  • Apply enough pressure to get a good drop of blood or interstitial fluid.
  • Place the drop of blood or interstitial fluid on the test strip or sensor.
  • Wait for the result to appear on the screen or app.
  • Record the result in a logbook or app.
  • Remove the sensor or test strip and dispose

Investing in the right diabetic supply for you

Receiving a diabetes diagnosis can feel difficult, but thanks to modern medicine and online medical suppliers, being able to treat this chronic illness has become increasingly manageable. Speak to your healthcare provider about the diabetic testing supplies you need to manage your condition so that you can continue to live life to the fullest.


Is there a way to get free diabetic supplies?
Yes, there are several ways to obtain free diabetic supplies, although availability may depend on your location, income, insurance coverage, and the specific supplies you need. Here are some common methods:

  1. Insurance Coverage: Many health insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover diabetic supplies. Check your plan details for coverage specifics.
  2. Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs: Some pharmaceutical companies offer assistance programs for low-income individuals or those without insurance, providing free or discounted diabetes supplies.
  3. Non-Profit Organizations: Various non-profit organizations and charities offer free diabetic supplies to those in need. Examples include the American Diabetes Association and local community health clinics.
  4. State Health Departments: Some state health departments have programs that provide free or low-cost diabetic supplies.
  5. Clinical Trials: Participating in clinical trials related to diabetes management may provide access to free supplies and treatments.

What equipment do diabetics need?
Diabetics may need various types of equipment to manage their condition effectively. The most common supplies include:

  • Blood Glucose Meters (BGMs): Devices to measure blood sugar levels.
  • Test Strips: Used with BGMs to test blood sugar levels.
  • Lancets and Lancing Devices: For pricking the skin to obtain a blood sample for glucose testing.
  • Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs): Devices that continuously monitor blood sugar levels through a sensor placed under the skin.
  • Insulin Pens, Syringes, or Pumps: For insulin administration. The choice between these depends on personal preference, lifestyle, and specific diabetes management needs.
  • Insulin: Required for individuals with Type 1 diabetes and some people with Type 2 diabetes.
  • Ketone Test Strips: To test for ketones in urine, important for managing diabetes, especially in cases of sickness or when blood sugar is consistently high.
  • Sharps Disposal Containers: Safe disposal of lancets, needles, and syringes.

Can you buy diabetes supplies over the counter?

Yes, many diabetes supplies can be bought over the counter (OTC) without a prescription. These include:

  • Blood Glucose Meters
  • Test Strips
  • Lancets and Lancing Devices
  • Ketone Test Strips

However, insulin and some types of continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) usually require a prescription. The availability of over-the-counter supplies can vary by country and region.

What is a diabetic supply?
A diabetic supply refers to any product or device needed to monitor, manage, and treat diabetes. These supplies are crucial for individuals living with diabetes to maintain their blood sugar levels within a target range and to prevent complications associated with the disease. Diabetic supplies include blood glucose meters, test strips, lancets, insulin pens, syringes, insulin, CGMs, and related accessories. The specific supplies needed can vary based on the type of diabetes, the treatment plan, and individual health goals.

As a leading supplier of durable and home medical equipment (DME and HME), ApriaHome sources and distributes a wide range of treatment solutions, including diabetic supplies and monitoring solutions.

We're here to support you as you work toward your improved health and well-being. We strive to meet your ever-evolving healthcare requirements with individualized attention and premium quality treatment solutions.

Looking to add diabetes supplies? Browse our premium solutions and let us help you get the most out of every day.

Looking for advice? Our helpful agents are on call at (800) 780-1508 between 8:00 am - 10:00 pm EST daily. Get in touch today.


LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Material in this newsletter is only: (1) provided for general health education and informational purposes, and to provide references to other resources; it may not apply to you as an individual. While Apria believes that the information provided through this communication is accurate and reliable, Apria cannot and does not make any such guarantee. It is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical advice, evaluation, diagnosis, services or treatment (collectively, "medical treatment"). Please see your healthcare provider for medical treatment related to you and your specific health condition(s). Never disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical care because of something you have read on or accessed through this website. Reading this newsletter should not be construed to mean that you have a healthcare provider/patient relationship with Apria.