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Frequently Asked Questions


I have some glucometers that I am not using anymore.  Where can I take them?  I don't want to throw them away, if someone could use them.

Don't throw them away if they still work fine!  If you have test strips as well, make sure to check the expiration date.  Strips are no longer good if they have expired.  You can donate your old glucometers and strips to:

Hope Lighthouse Ministries
444 Irwin, Muskegon
On the corner of Wood St. & Irwin (In the old Fitspatrick Elec. Bldg.)


I'm diabetic - can I be a blood donor?

This is a question frequently asked, and in most cases, the answer is “Yes, you may donate blood.” The criteria that the American Red Cross uses to determine if a diabetic may donate is as follows:
1. If you are regulated and blood sugars are stabilized by diet or oral medication, you are eligible to donate.
2. If you are insulin dependent, you must wait two weeks from beginning a prescribed Protocol of subcutaneous insulin.
3. There is no problem giving if you are on an insulin pump.
4. You must be at least 17 years of age with no upper age limit. You must also be at least 110 lbs.

In addition, if you adjust your insulin according to your blood sugar (i.e., you are changing the amount of insulin based on a morning and evening blood sugar) it is best that you do not donate. Donating a pint of blood can perhaps cause you problems as it could change your blood sugar levels. If you take the same amount of insulin on a daily basis, and are stabilized, you should be fine to donate blood.

If you have further questions, please contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-813-8111.


My doctor wants me to start taking insulin shots. Does that mean that my diabetes has gotten worse?

Not necessarily. Your doctor may be trying to improve you glucose levels closer to normal than in the past. It may also be a result of your body changing as part of the aging process. Medications that worked when you were younger, may not be as effective now. Remember, the purpose of diabetes medications are to assist your body in reaching glucose levels as near to normal levels as reasonable.

Ideally near normal levels could be accomplished by using a healthy meal plan and improving physical activity, but many people with type 2 diabetes will need to take medication. There are many oral medications for diabetes, but for some, insulin is a better answer. Insulin is a hormone that is normally produced by the pancreas. So although the oral medications may seem easier to take, they may cause side effects that you cannot handle or may not mix with other medications that you take.

Diabetes care has changed over the last several years. In the past, the person with diabetes tried to change their lifestyle and activities to match the insulin they were taking; this made taking insulin very challenging. When using the newer insulins, the goal is to match the insulin to the activities and lifestyle of the person with diabetes. The devices used to take insulin have also improved. You can choose to take insulin by the traditional syringe method, or by the more convenient insulin pens. Pumps are available to those who need to closely fine-tune their insulin regimen.

The actual needles used have also improved. Today the needles used for syringes, insulin pens and lancets for blood testing are sharper and thinner, which many users describe as painless.

Add to the above information that as we learn more and more about diabetes, we better understand the advantages of tighter control. Reaching a goal of an A1c less than 7% is possible, resulting in a decrease in complications and an increase in quality of life. You feel better. A few weeks after starting insulin most people with diabetes will say that they feel so much better that they wished they had started it earlier. When your doctor recommends insulin, don’t be afraid to ask why. The answer will most likely be to improve your blood glucose levels and to help you feel better.
If you have further questions on insulin or on diabetes care, ask you doctor to refer you to a certified diabetes educator.

This information was brought to you by LuAnne Kraus RN, CDE         


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