Diabetes requires a delicate balance of close personal management of the disease and high cost medical care.
As the price of healthcare services increases each year, some patients find it more difficult to financially get by due to expensive essential medical supplies, insulin and other health requirements that help them live normally with diabetes.
According to Dr. Irl Hirsch from the University of Washington, there are techniques for managing diabetes at the lowest possible cost. Below are some tips you can follow to help manage your diabetes without going broke.
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Learn How Your Body Works
One of the best ways to help you take care of your body is to learn how it regulates your blood sugar levels. Start by making a list of questions you can ask to your doctor.
You may also approach a friend, a relative or someone you know who is also dealing with blood sugar issues or diabetes. Get some useful tips from them and learn how they managed their disease without spending too much money.
There are many factors that cause your blood sugar to spike up or dip low. A few examples are stress, epinephrine, diet, lifestyle, certain medicines like beta blockers and other illnesses. It is therefore essential to know whether there are any other underlying medical concerns you need to take care of to avoid glucose fluctuations.
Educate yourself on the physiological functions of your body by reading more about them online. Spend some time using the internet as it is one of the best ways to learn more about diabetes. There are plenty of reliable and easy-to-understand sources that can explain you how to regulate your blood sugar effectively and naturally.
If there are certain topics you do not understand, jot them down on a notebook and ask your doctor for a more detailed explanation on your next visit.
Opt For Generic Drugs
As they are mandated by federal law, generic drugs should be chemically identical to the FDA-approved brand-name medications. This means they have the exact side effects, intended use, dosage, risk, strength and safety as the brand-name drugs. If you are not highly-sensitive or allergic to fillers, using generic drugs will helps cut down your healthcare costs.
Generic insulin analogs are not yet available. But there are generic pills intended to help control your blood sugar. One example of that is the Glucophage tablets (metformin). One bottle of sixty 500mg tablets of glucophage costs about $70 to $80. But the generic alternative usually costs only about $10 to $15.
Buy From Bulk Suppliers
If you are looking for deals and large discounts, you can purchase your essential supplies such as lancets, syringes and test strips for relatively low prices from bulk suppliers. You can search sellers in Amazon.com and ebay.com.
Just test strips may cost you as much as $2000 every year if you use them 4 times a day. Yes, they can last you for a year, but it is still an expensive amount of money for most people, especially those who use them often. Buying strips in bulk can cut your cost in half depending on the available deal the seller is offering.
For modest savings, you can also purchase your insulin in bulk from sellers like USMED, Health Warehouse, Amazon or ADW Diabetes. Be particular with the expiration dates when you are buying insulin from third-party suppliers.
Research Different Vendors
When buying your medication, check different vendors and compare their prices. Generally, Costco and Walmart have the most inexpensive pharmacies but you can also check the website goodrx.com for a convenient way to find the most affordable pharmacy in your town.
There are also reputable online pharmacies that provide cheap medications. Typically, insulin analogs cost around $400 per bottle. But online pharmacies sell them for half the price. Just make sure before you make your purchase that the medicines are shipped refrigerated.
Reuse Essential Medical Supplies
This is a tip that you have to be most careful about. It is possible to reuse your medical supplies as long as you keep them clean. For example, some patients reuse their lancets for the second and third time for each fingerstick.
Some patients even extend wearing their CGM sensors for more than the recommended time frame of 7 days. Reusing your medical supplies does help keep the costs down but this is also dependent on your situation and level of comfort.
In order to definitely keep the costs low, you should also revert back to a healthy lifestyle. Even if you can afford all the medical expenses that every diabetic patients need to spend on, prolonging this medical concern will soon drain out your bank account and leave your broke.
To help manage your diabetes more inexpensively, below are lifestyle changes you should be adopting and they will also reduce your cost and improve your medical condition in the long run.
If you are overweight, losing as little as 10 pounds can have a huge impact on your health improvement. Exercising helps increase insulin sensitivity, lower down blood sugar and the best of all, it is free.
You do not need to spend money on gym memberships. You can simply take morning walks around the park or even around your neighborhood, or run if you are up to it.
Becoming more physically active also alleviates stress and insomnia – a common issue among diabetic patients who are having some difficulty in taking care of their health.
A regular exercise routine can consist of daily walking, jogging, swimming or team sports. You should elevate your heart rate for at least 30 minutes a day by performing low to moderate impact exercises.
As you continue to become more active, exercising will get easier by the week. Increase the duration of your exercise and work your way up to reap the maximum benefits of living an active lifestyle.
Eating right is another technique to help lower down your blood glucose levels. Since your body is having a difficult time processing the amount of sugar in your blood stream, cutting back and consuming less is a sure way to fight the problem.
Plan out a healthy diet for diabetes that also works specifically for your taste preferences. Try not to focus on organic foods as they can be expensive. Instead, target low-glycemic whole foods. They help lower your sugar and carbs intake and liberate the body from the stress of processing too much sugar.
Examples of low-glycemic foods are oatmeal, fruits, beans, peanuts and granola. Choosing this kind of nutrition can also aid your goals of losing weight and cutting back on sugars. You can find low-glycemic cookbooks with interesting recipes sold online.
Several herbs and spices are also known to help lower blood sugar levels. A few to mention are ginseng, turmeric, cinnamon, licorice extract and huckleberries. They are inexpensive and can provide extra help to reduce your blood glucose levels.
The best tip to manage your diabetes without breaking the bank is to educate yourself and learn more about the disease. You must have an open communication with your physician so that you can comfortably confide with him or her the different matters that concern your health.
Diet and exercise are not the only solutions to effectively manage diabetes, there are also other factors to look out for. By getting yourself informed on these topics, you can surely develop a routine to treat diabetes in the most inexpensive way possible.
Katrina Rice is a mom and a freelance writer. She strongly believes in the concept of holistic wellness through healthy and natural living, traveling and immersing one’s self in new activities. A self-proclaimed health enthusiast, she hopes to inspire more people to do the same.