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Top Diabetes Hacks

I reached out to people living with diabetes or those caring for a person with diabetes and asked them one question, "What is your #1 diabetes hack?" Check out the responses below.

Scott Johnson

It's actually a very simple one. I use a small travel pill bottle to put used test strips in. I hate loose ones in my pocket, don't always have a trash nearby, and don't feel comfortable littering them (even though it happens accidentally often enough!). - Scott Johnson @scottkjohnson & scottsdiabetes.com 

Setting alarms and reminders on my mobile phone is by far my best hack. For example, I set up a reminder to change my infusion site. I usually don’t change it the minute it bings me, so I leave the alert in my notifications and I see it every time I pick up my phone (which is a lot). Once I change out the site, I reset the reminder to bing me in another three days.  

I set alarms after I bolus so I don't forget to eat. I know that sounds weird, but I find that a 20 minute pre-bolus works best for me. However, I work from home, and was always getting engrossed in something after bolusing and would forget to eat until my CGM low alarm rang. So now, as soon as I bolus, I set an alarm on my phone to buzz me in 20 minutes. - Karen Graffeo Bitter-Sweet, @KarenBittrSweet, Bitter-Sweet FB, DBlogWeek FB

Karen Grafeo
Manny Hernandez

Here’s my hack (though it’s no longer available on Amazon): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017JIPZZU/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1  

To be honest, I read about it on Twitter, but I don’t remember who from. This hole puncher is exactly the right size for Dexcom sensors, so it’s perfect to save time in cutting out a hole in a tagaderm or other tape to put on top of a sensor/transmitter. - Manny Hernandez, @askmanny

I've read and heard that the sweet spot pre-bolus time frame is about 15 minutes pre-meal. After having tried that and seen a little tiny bit of improvement, I decided to experiment with it. When I told my endocrinologist, he was on board. So little by little I pushed that time out further and further.

I saw more and more improvement the further it went. As it turns out, my sweet spot pre-bolus time frame is about 45 minutes! 30 minutes longer than I'd ever heard! My body processes a little bit slower, I figure. More me, taking insulin 45 minutes before a meal curbs the glucose spike. 

This hack works best with predictable and planned meals. Not sure I'd use it in a restaurant, especially if I'm ordering an item for the first time. Regardless, it 's #DiabetesHack that works for me! - Heather Gabel, The Chronic Scholar

Heather Gabel
Christopher Snider

Here are some things that I think are unique to my situation, since my wife has diabetes, too.  

We have juice boxes in each of our bedside tables, with the top part of the plastic holding the straw cut off so it's easier to get the straw, and get to the juice.  

We color-code our diabetes supplies so we know whose stuff is whose. Aside from test strips, all of our devices and supply boxes are uniquely marked so we have an accurate count.  

When we go on road trips, I use a 2-usb plug thing in my car's lighter so we can have more than one usb cable charging our devices if necessary. - Christopher Snider

For tape on the quickset infusion set.  

Fold tape in half. Use the safety cap on the quickest and cut a half circle on the fold line. You end up with a hole in the middle of the tape just right to place over the quick set. It works every time. - Rick Phillips, RADiabetes.com

Rick Phillips
Christel Marchand Aprigliano

 That "fun size" packaging of Skittles that you're supposed to hand out to trick-or-treaters go right into my purse and suitcases when I travel. With 14 grams of carbs, they're perfect to treat when I'm on the run (and I won't overtreat!). - Christel Marchand Aprigliano, The Perfect D Blog, @theperfectdblog 

My #1 diabetes related hack is using POLI (or untethered), Pumper on Long acting Insulin.  

Why is POLI my top and favorite diabetes related hack?  

It's wonderful for my mental health, I have anxiety and was always concerned about having a pumpsite fail and getting ketones. Having insulin always in the background makes me feel a lot better!  

Growing up (and still to this day), it's also very helpful for several reasons. I grew up in GA, and during the summers I spent a lot of time in the water or my pumpsite would fall off. If I have background insulin, I don't have to worry about reconnecting to my pump while I'm having fun/being a kid.  

When I was in theatre in high school, I refused to wear my insulin pump on stage because it wasn't a part of the show. I didn't want my diabetes to be included in the bios. I would be able to disconnect from my pump for the entirety of the show without worrying I would go up! - Mindy Bartleson, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn

Mindy Bartleson
Stephen Richert

My number 1 hack: there is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate. Cut carbs and increase protein and fat. Low carb nutrition isn't necessarily simpler than any other, but diabetes boils down to the bodies inability to metabolize carbohydrates. Stack the deck in your favor and use energy sources that are more available. - Stephen Richert, Living Vertical, YouTube

Diabetes Hack #1

I kid you not, I keep a Sharpie Marker in my refrigerator's butter compartment. And Every time I open a new bottle of insulin, I grab said Sharpie and write the date I started using my new bottle of insulin. It's quick, easy, efficient and an added benefit - I ALWAYS know where to find a Sharpie in a pinch ;)  

Diabetes Hack #2.

I keep an extra sealed omnipod and syringe pack in my glove compartment.... just in case. I always carry an extra pod with me, but if I ever forgot to bring with and needed to change out pods - I know that I have a sealed spare pod in my car. Sidebar: When I wore a medtronic pump, I ALWAYS kept a spare infusion set in my glove compartment for the very same reason. Yours truly wants ripped out her old insulin pump's tubing via my Honda's emergency brake - but I had a spare! - Kelly Kunik http://diabetesaliciousness.blogspot.com/ IwishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes.Org twitter: @diabetesalish

Kelly Kunik
Adam Brown

One of my favorite new diabetes hacks is chia pudding for breakfast, as mentioned in Bright Spots & Landmines and shown in video format here. The beauty of this breakfast is that it has little/no impact on blood sugar, requires no cooking (hence portable for traveling), takes just a few minutes to make, keeps me full for hours, is stocked with Omega 3s and fiber, is highly customizable, tastes great, and runs just~$0.60 per breakfast. I eat it every day now! - Adam Brown Twitter, DiaTribe

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