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What are the Different Types of Diabetic Testing Supplies?

Alicia Sparks
Alicia Sparks

The equipment used for proper diabetes care can be divided into two categories. The first is diabetes testing equipment used solely for testing and monitoring a diabetic’s blood glucose and ketone levels. The most basic examples of this kind of diabetes testing equipment include lancers, strips, and monitors. The second category includes diabetic supplies used in conjunction with testing equipment, such as insulin and syringes, special dietary items, and personal care products. In addition to pharmacies and medical supply shops, diabetics can find these items with help from their health insurance plans or other assistance programs.

Diabetic testing supplies are those supplies designed specifically for diabetes monitoring. The most common kinds of diabetes testing equipment include the lancing device used to pierce the skin, the diabetic test strips used to collect the blood, and the blood glucose monitor used to measure the blood glucose level. Depending on the person and diabetes type, urine test strips might be used for testing glucose and ketone levels. Other diabetic supplies used with testing equipment might include alcohol swabs to thoroughly clean the injection site and control solution used in the place of blood to test that the glucose monitor is working properly.

A vial of insulin.
A vial of insulin.

For people with diabetes, diabetic testing supplies are just a few of the tools necessary for proper diabetes care. Many diabetics require insulin, and those who can’t take insulin pills will need vials of insulin and syringes to inject it. Some diabetics may want to keep handy diabetic neuropathy testing tools, which are small pen-like devices designed to help assess reduced skin sensation. If diabetic neuropathy is present, the person may require certain foot care ointments or shoes or hosiery designed for people with diabetes. Additional diabetic supplies depend on personal preference and the situation, and may include personal care items, low-sugar or sugar-free snacks, and vitamins designed with diabetics in mind.

A blood glucose monitor checks blood glucose levels.
A blood glucose monitor checks blood glucose levels.

Where a person gets his diabetic testing supplies will depend on a number of factors. Some people may have health insurance plans that completely or partially cover supplies purchased through particular vendors. Others may need to pay the full price for their diabetic testing supplies, which generally means they can buy them from whichever vendor they choose. Some local and regional government agencies have assistance programs in place for people who need help paying for their diabetes testing equipment and other supplies. Most other kinds of diabetic supplies are available at drug stores and pharmacies, department stores, and medical supply stores, and these might also be covered under health insurance plans and assistance programs.

Discussion Comments


I started buying the Wal-Mart meter and strips because they're so much cheaper, and even if that meter runs a little high, I'm not on insulin either, so I don't have to worry as much about accuracy.

The hell of it is if I were on insulin, I could get as many strips as I needed, up to something like 300 a month for $30. Now, if my insurance will cover that many strips, why do they cost so much? It's a racket.

The companies know that any diabetic interested in good control is going to need strips for the meter. So they jack up the price. We're a captive audience. It's highway robbery of people who can ill afford it.


Insulin pills? Never heard of them. I've only ever heard of insulin being given by injection.

I'm diabetic and I am on oral medication (not insulin), but I have a little pouch with a glucose meter, strips, a lancing device and extra lancets. That's it. I don't use alcohol swabs. I'm the only one using the lancet so it's my germs.

Meters are cheap. It's the strips where the companies get you. Those suckers sell for $1 apiece! Or more. I keep hoping they will come down in cost, since the first home meters were just introduced in the early 1980s. Maybe strips will come down in price, too.

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    • A vial of insulin.
      By: Restyler
      A vial of insulin.
    • A blood glucose monitor checks blood glucose levels.
      By: charger_v8
      A blood glucose monitor checks blood glucose levels.
    • Urine test strips can be used to check glucose levels.
      By: Max Tactic
      Urine test strips can be used to check glucose levels.