A day in the Life of a Type 1 Diabetes Patient

In America, nearly 15,000 children are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes each year. While this disease puts a tremendous physical and emotional strain on children and their families, it also causes a significant financial burden on both the patient and society as a whole. Diabetes is a disease that can be controlled with close blood glucose monitoring, but the equipment needed to achieve this control often comes at a high cost.

Without certain medical supplies, a diabetic would be unable to check his or her blood glucose and unable to give himself or herself life-saving insulin. Diabetics cannot survive without these supplies, which they must use multiple times per day. But diabetes supplies consist of more than just needles and syringes. To get a glimpse into the daily life of a diabetic, here is a list of supplies a diabetic must have at their immediate disposal every day in order to survive:

Lancets/lancing device to stick their fingers in order to draw blood

Alcohol swabs to clean the finger prior to sticking

Test strips to put the drop of blood onto

Glucometer, the device used to measure the blood glucose

Control solution to calibrate the glucometer in order to ensure it gives an accurate reading

Short acting insulin to give with meals or in the event the blood glucose is too high

Long-acting insulin to act as the steady daily dose of insulin, delivering a slow, continuous amount

Syringes or needles to deliver the insulin several times per day

Glucose tablets/gel/kit to give in an emergency if the blood glucose drops too low

Depending on the patient’s age, insurance coverage, and level of diabetes control, some patients will also have:

An insulin pump which attaches directly to the body through a catheter to give a steady amount of insulin

A continuous glucose monitor which attaches to the body with a small needle and checks the blood glucose every five minutes

It is estimated that Type 1 diabetics spend well over $9000 per year on diabetes supplies. While a costly endeavor, these supplies are lifesaving and crucial to keeping these children healthy and thriving.


  • American Diabetes Association.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Medical Costs for Youth with Diabetes More than $9,000 a year.
    National Institutes of Health
  • Diabetes, Type 1.

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