1. Blood glucose meter
An essential device for people with type 1, insulin-managed type 2 and gestational diabetes, a blood glucose meter works by drawing a drop of blood from your fingertip through a needle called a lancet. You then transfer your blood to a testing strip, and use that to get a reading on the meter’s screen.
Meters are available through pharmacies – you may also be able to get one for free from your GP or diabetes educator, so don’t be afraid to ask!
2. Insulin pens
Insulin pens are the most commonly used insulin-delivery devices in Australia for people with type 1 and insulin-managed type 2 and gestational diabetes. They come in refillable and disposable varieties, both of which are used with disposable pen needles. Both varieties are available through pharmacies.
- REFILLABLE: These pens take 3ml insulin cartridges – each cartridge contains 300 units of insulin. Refillable pens are made to fit specific brands of insulin, meaning they aren’t interchangeable with other brands.
- DISPOSABLE: These pens come loaded with 300 units of insulin. They are discarded when empty.
3. Insulin syringe
Less frequently used than other delivery devices, insulin syringes are used once before being discarded. They are available in 30, 50 and 100 unit measures, and the size of each syringe depends on your insulin dose. They are available through pharmacies.
4. Insulin pump
Suitable for people with type 1 and insulin-controlled type 2, pumps work by continuously delivering insulin through a very narrow flexible tube. This is attached to a small cannula, which is inserted under the skin of your stomach.
The pump itself is worn on your belt or waistband, or carried in your pocket or in a pouch beneath your clothes. It is programmed to deliver a low, steady dose of insulin throughout the day (basal rate) and an extra amount (bolus) when you eat.
Ask your diabetes educator for more information if you’re interested in switching to a pump.
5. Continuous glucose monitor
Suitable for people with type 1, a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) measures glucose levels in the fluid between your cells at five-minute intervals throughout the day and night. A CGM has three main parts – a transmitter, sensor and receiver – which work together to provide you with 288 glucose readings every 24 hours. Ask your diabetes educator for more information if you’re interested in switching to a CGM.