Diabetes Q and A

By Janis Roszler, MSFT, RD, CDE, LD/N

Q I want to start using an insulin pump, but my insurance won’t pay for one. I spotted a pump for sale on eBay the other day. Is it safe to buy one from there?

A Please do not get a pump from eBay! I’m a fan of that site, but it isn’t the place to purchase important medical equipment. A pump provides a life-saving service. One that is advertised on eBay, which is an online flea market, could be used, reconditioned, damaged, sold as new when it isn’t new at all, etc. A pump should be purchased from a reliable source. Many people who are initially turned down by their insurance carrier are often accepted later. Have one of the pump companies contact your insurance company on your behalf. They may be able to turn things around for you.

Q Yesterday, my emotions were all over the place. I’m comfortable and then suddenly feel like crying. Does this happen often with diabetes?

A Mood swings can be caused by a variety of different things including stress, medications, and blood sugar swings. To see if your blood sugar level is the cause, test it during one of your emotional moments and see if it is within your target range. To help maintain your blood sugar level in a healthy range, stay physically active, take your diabetes medication as directed, don’t skip meals, and choose foods that have a lower glycemic index value. The glycemic index ranks the effect that foods may have on blood glucose levels; high values may cause a more rapid rise, and lower values may have a slower, gentler effect. In the past, the glycemic index was highly unreliable, but the University of Sydney has compiled a more reliable list that is posted at ( Discuss additional treatment options with your health care team.

Q The weather is getting really strange. Please help me prepare for the upcoming hurricane season. You gave us a list last year. Can you please repeat it?

A I’m in Florida, so I’m getting ready too. To prepare for rain, storms, power outages, or evacuation, follow the general recommendations suggested by your local government – keep cash on hand in case ATM machines stop working, fill your car’s gas tank, secure important documents in watertight bags, etc. To care for your diabetes, place at least a two-week supply of the following items into a watertight container or bag:

  • Prescriptions82154328
  • Emergency numbers
  • Syringes and insulin pen needles
  • Alcohol swabs
  • Insulin pump supplies
  • Test strips, lancets, and lancing device
  • Extra glucose meter and pump batteries
  • Low blood sugar treatment snacks-glucose tablets, hard candies, juice boxes, cans of regular soda, etc.
  • Glucagon emergency kit to treat severe insulin reactions
  • Other medications

Keep extra insulin in the refrigerator. If you lose power, your fridge should remain cold for several hours. After that, transfer the insulin into a cooler with ice packs, but don’t allow it to touch the ice. Once opened, insulin can remain at room temperature for about a month, but will spoil at temperatures higher than 86 degrees.

*This article originally appeared in 2007
**please consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diabetes regimen.

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