Diabetes Care: Three Things You Should Do Now

Even if you’re not one to make and keep resolutions, there are three things you can do now to make sure your diabetes care goes smooth-as-possible in the coming year.

1. Update n' Organize

Update and organize your diabetes supplies. Check expiration dates and replace outdated items. If you haven’t already done so, dedicate shelf space (closet, cupboard, or drawer) for all the lancets, glucose tabs, batteries, logbooks, and ketone strips you need to have on hand.

In that dedicated space, you might use several plastic tubs, shoe boxes, or drawer dividers to make sure every item has a home, and keep a bag there for carrying supplies when you’re out and about. Choose one spot in the fridge for insulin, and one place in the car for emergency items.

Also, find out whether your prescription benefits include an online pharmacy option. Getting supplies shipped to your door in 90 day quantities saves time, and may save money.

2. Make Appointments

If you’re behind on diabetes related tests and checkups, make the necessary appointments. Individuals with diabetes should:

  • Have an eye exam at least once a year. Early detection of eye disease owed to diabetes is vital for maintaining vision.
  • See a dentist every six months.
  • Visit a doctor every three to six months to monitor blood pressure, weight, have feet examined, reflexes checked, regular lab tests (e.g., glucose, A1C, cholesterol, kidney function), and have medications adjusted, if necessary.

Regular checkups are also an opportunity to get answers for nagging questions, or to discuss new treatment options.

3. Be Prepared

Since natural disasters can quickly disrupt routine, and may uproot our lives, create a diabetes emergency bag or backpack. If you already have one, now is a good time to replace any perishables, and update supplies.

Your emergency bag may need some, or all of the following:

  • Quick acting sugar sources such as glucose tabs, or juice boxes, plus some complex carb sources such as crackers with peanut butter.
  • A glucose meter, lancets, test strips, and a lancing device.
  • Backup supplies for pumps (e.g., infusion sets, cartridges, reservoirs, adhesives, adhesive removers), or continuous glucose meters (e.g. sensors, charging cord). Have a three-day supply of items in your bag, at minimum, but consider that you may need more.
  • A glucagon kit for severe low blood sugar.
  • Ketone test strips, for when blood sugar is high. Individually wrapped strips are best since they last longer.
  • Extra syringes and insulin, or oral medications. Having extra calms worries.
  • A travel-size sharps container for used items.
  • A generous supply of batteries for your meter, and other diabetes devices.
  • Tissues, hand sanitizer or wipes, antibiotic ointment, and bandages.
  • Pain relievers (aspirin, Advil), OTC anti-diarrhea medications, and antacids may come in handy.

When it comes to our health, it’s always better to organize than to agonize. Getting these three tasks accomplished can generate confidence now, and prevent worry or regret later.

Sources: T1 Everyday Magic; Medline Plus; Diabetic Living
Photo credit: Surrey County Council News

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