Diabetes is a frustrating and complex disease, no matter what ‘type’ you have. It is pervasive in your life and seems to take over nearly all parts of it. I would say that a big portion of my times is spent managing, thinking about and treating my diabetes.
Today, I am going to help you with some products and things I have found that make living with diabetes much easier. Here’s my list of tips and hacks for diabetes.
Tips and Hacks for Living with Diabetes Easier
**Pip Lancets- I tried PIP lancets because I was sick of the painful pokes from my lancing device. These are similar to the ones they use in healthcare settings, but even less painful. They are disposable and you can’t risk getting re-poked with them once used. I was very surprised how well the work and you can even try them for a mere $8 for a trial pack right now. (May 2020). These have really saved my fingers.
**Keep more than one glucose meter- You can get low cost and even free meters from a few sources. The strips can cost a bit, but I have found that the Walmart Reli-On brand is reliable and strips cost as little as $5. I keep several meters in different spots like my bedroom, my gym bag, purse and at work. That way I am never looking all over for a meter, especially if I am feeling low. I also try to put them into bright bags like the ones you get from Ipsy so they are easier to see than the standard black.
**Get a CGM– I recently got a Freestyle Libre. It has been pretty great because I only have to place a sensor every 14 days. There are some issues with it as it isn’t always that accurate so if I am low or high, I need to retest before I treat, but it has saved me countless pokes.
**Make diabetic switches easy by preparing ahead of time– One of my biggest problems is when I am low or hangry I tend to grab stuff that isn’t going to make me feel better. I have found that having snacks that are easy to grab (even if I pay a bit more for the pre-packaged convenience) makes it much easier to eat more diabetic friendly, especially on the go.
**Use apps to manage your disease– I use several apps on my phone to help me manage my disease. Some of them are just standard and on most phones. For instance, I color code on my calendar when it’s a doctor’s appointment and set a reminder for it. I also set reminders throughout the day to test my blood sugar since I suffer from hypoglycemic unawareness. (This is when a person with diabetes does’t realize they are going low or the symptoms of a low.) I also use an app called My Sugr that helps me log info from meals to readings and more. It helps me watch for patterns.
**Get to know your medical supplier well and skip using a regular pharmacy for them if you can– I stopped going to a regular pharmacy years ago when it came to getting my DME (Durable Medical Equipment). I find that most regular pharmacies either don’t have time or talent when it comes to getting insurance to pay for things or approve them. If you go to an in-network medical equipment supplier, they know how to get discounts from manufactures, how to get insurances to approve as well as many offer payment plans. They are a great ally to have in your corner.
**Ask your Doctor if you can take your basal insulin in two injections for better control- I used to take a large dose of basal insulin and it wasn’t very effective. My doctor suggested I take it as a slit dose. She said that in some people, their bodies can’t process more than 50 units at a time. Since I was on 70 units at the time, we split it up into 2- 35 units on each size of my tummy. It worked a lot better which in the end led to less fast acting insulin injections.
**Save your emergency info on your phone’s lock screen– One good way to make sure that if you were to have a diabetic emergency alone that people would be able to reach your emergency info or even know you are diabetic is to save your info on your lock screen. This way, even if they can’t unlock your phone, they will see that you have the basics there- that you are diabetic, a phone number for your Dr or spouse or both as well as what meds you take and your name.
**Take a to-go sharps container in your bag- I like to use an old OTC pill bottle for this. That way I can throw my used test strips and lancets and pen needle tops in it on the go and not risk poking myself or losing them in the bottom of my purse. You can even decorate it with stickers if you wanna get all fancy with it.
**Grab honey and jam packets from condiment stands for treating lows on the go-I once was eating at KFC and saw the honey packets and like any reasonable human being, I took a couple extra for home (I had intended on taking them in my lunches). One day, I was having a low and desperate for something to get my numbers up and low and behold the honey packet was still there. It worked like a charm.