Understanding the Different Types of Diabetic Supplies


Roughly 1 in 10 Americans are diagnosed with diabetes. If you’re one of the millions that are diagnosed with this condition, you should know what to add to your diabetic supplies. A cache of diabetes supplies can make your life more convenient and avert disaster.

But what goes into your diabetic supply list? If you’re making your diabetes supply cache, we’re here to help. Read on to learn about everything to include in your diabetic supply kit.

Types of Insulin

The first thing on the mind of most people when they think of diabetes, is insulin. But did you know there are multiple types of insulin?

You should have enough insulin for a lengthy period in your advanced diabetes supply kit. Here are the four primary types of insulin so you know which to consider.


Rapid-acting insulin is the quickest-acting insulin that you can use. Rapid-acting insulin will begin “working” within 2 to 20 minutes of injection.

It’s at its most effective between 1 and 3 hours after injection, lasting up to 5 hours. Rapid-acting insulin must be taken alongside food and is most often used before, during, or after a meal. Some also take this type of insulin in case of an emergency.

Short-Acting or Regular

Short-acting insulin, most often called “regular” insulin, takes roughly half an hour to begin working. Regular insulin can last for up to 8 hours.

Most people use this as their “main” insulin if they schedule their injections. It’s best to have this injection about half an hour before eating. Expect it to reach its maximum effect at about 2 to 5 hours.

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Intermediate-acting is most commonly termed “basal” insulin. The term “background” is also frequently used. People use these terms because this insulin can last for most of the day, keeping the need for insulin in the background.

Intermediate-acting insulin is also cloudy. It’s necessary to mix these insulins before injection.

Intermediate-acting insulin will begin to work roughly an hour or 90 minutes after injection. The peak is between 4 and 12 hours, with the range depending on the individual and their diet. You can expect intermediate-acting insulin to last for between 16 and 24 hours.


Finally, long-acting insulin depends dramatically on the brand and manufacturer. These last longer than intermediate-acting insulins and are the longest-lasting insulins readily available.

Most long-acting insulins are given once a day. They most typically won’t require mixing beforehand, but you should discuss with your doctor any necessary information on taking them.

Insulin Pumps

Many people are hesitant to use insulin by injection. Some believe that they provide a hassle or a nuisance and don’t want to schedule their day by injection.

If you feel this way, insulin pumps are a strong and popular alternative. An insulin pump is a small, programmable external device. You would wear the insulin pump, typically near your waist, and let it work on its programmed schedule.

The pump has a fine needle that is inserted just below the skin. A reservoir of rapid-acting insulin is injected through this needle into your fatty tissue, typically the abdomen. Pumps are preprogrammed to work on your desires, set with your medical practitioner.

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Individuals can also have the pump give a small burst of insulin when food is eaten. In a sense, an insulin pump works in the same way that your pancreas would.

An insulin pump isn’t everyone’s desired fix. You should discuss an insulin pump with your doctor and see if it’s right for you. If you prefer the pump, make sure you keep everything it needs in your diabetic supply kit.

Glucose Meter

Another critical piece for your diabetes supplies is a glucose meter. Such a tool is vital for monitoring your blood sugar.

The most common option is the glucometer. The traditional “fingerstick” testing device lets you insert a test strip into the meter. Afterward, you’ll use a lancing device to prick your finger and produce a strip of blood.

Touch the blood to the test strip and the meter will give a glucose reading. Most monitors also keep a record of the readings and sometimes your recent averages. These can help you keep track of your glucose over time.

You must keep this equipment clean. Always thoroughly clean your hands and sanitize your finger.

Another option is continuous monitoring. A CGM device (continuous glucose monitoring) is a portable device that puts a sensor to monitor your glucose. The sensor is most often placed in your arm or belly.

The primary reason to use a CGM is if you need to check your blood sugar several times a day. For a selection of meters, check out these diabetic suppliers for Medicare.

Test Strips

Did you know that there are test strips for more than your blood? Many people assume that blood sugar is the only thing diabetic individuals need to test.

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Another important piece for your diabetic supply kit is ketone test strips. Ketones are generated when your body breaks down fat for energy instead of sugar. High ketone levels in your urine mean your diabetes needs to be controlled.

Comfort Supplies

While the above items are the most important, there are other items your supply kit will need for comfort. For example, many people with diabetes experience issues with their feet. You should keep everything necessary to take care of your feet in your kit.

Many people also battle with managing their blood sugar. If your blood sugar falls too low, it’s vital to get it back up to avoid seizures or other complications. Keep glucose tablets or glucagon on hand to help manage your blood sugar.

Managing Your Diabetic Supplies

Keeping a healthy supply of diabetic supplies is important for your health, safety, and comfort. Keep everything necessary to test your blood sugar or ketone levels. You should also stack your supply kit with comforts and other supplies that will make your kit enjoyable to use.

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