Diabetes & Fashion: Identification, Insulin Pump Friendly Clothes, Lunch Boxes

Dr. Fran Cogen Health Pro
  • After spending more than five hours researching and downloading journal articles to write the last blog, I decided to lighten it up a bit. Today I would like to talk about the accessories, gadgets, and stuff that my patients present in a "show and tell" like manner during their quarterly clinic visits. I am always entertained by the creativity that my kids and their parents use to do diabetes related tasks.


    Category 1--Identification: At each clinic visit we remind our patients of the need to wear some form of identification at all times. Apparently, the old ID bracelets have gone out of style. There are now multiple means to identify yourself as having type 1 diabetes. You can wear a stylish ankle bracelet, a multi- or single-colored beaded wrist bracelet with a small metal ID tag, Velcro wrist bracelets, classic dog tags, necklaces (that actually look like custom made jewelry), tattoos,  and even, my personal favorite, an athletic (sweat) wrist band that had a label indicating type 1 diabetes! Way cool! I know that there are many other forms of ID out there. Tell me about them below!

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    Category 2--Insulin pump cases: Due to the proliferation of cell phones, many people wear them as belt accessories. Why not do the same with an insulin pump? Several years ago, a creative parent starting selling cloth pump cases online and now many of my parents of small children make little cloth pump holders that attach to a belt or the tops of shorts or pants. Some little girls even have cloth pump cases that actually match their outfits. Another ingenious technique is to sew the pump holder inside the shirt, dress, pants, bra, etc. to keep the pump within the clothing. This is especially helpful for preteens and teens who wish to have the pump hidden on special occasions.


    Category 3--Equipment bags and cases: there is so much to carry around when you have diabetes, including a blood glucose meter, strips, glucagon, glucose tablets, ketone strips, extra meter, insulin vials, syringes, insulin pens, lancing device, etc. How do we keep everything organized? There are many cool items on the market, just look in the back of Diabetes Forecast. There are many different categories that offer solutions. One type of case can help keep insulin cool, which is good for the summer. Some families use tackle boxes with multiple dividers to keep everything organized. Many teens use backpacks that have different compartments. Some of my elementary kids use special lunch boxes. A trip to the store to find just the right storage gear might be appropriate. Some teenage girls use purses to store all their personal stuff, communication devices, as well as their diabetes related equipment. Apparently, the purse as a storage device works for Sonia Sotomayor, too!


    When your child takes lunch to school and carbohydrate counts, one method that works well is to pack a lunch with multiple choices listing the carb counts on each food item. In that way, your child can choose what he wants to eat and just add up the amount of carbs he plans to consume, test his blood sugar and bolus away via pen or pump stored in his trendy container/backpack/lunchbox, etc.


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    Category 4--Record keeping: most people do not enjoy record keeping and writing blood sugars in those generic logs that the pharmaceutical companies used to hand out. A diabetes care team likes to have written records available so when the computers crash and you have forgotten to download blood sugars at home, the data is still available. Do something creative, like using your iphone to record blood sugars, or store the information in an ipod or cellphone, palm pilot. If you do like notebooks, get one with the Jonas brothers on the cover or a baseball scorecard and instead of scoring the game: score blood sugars! Some of my families use stickers in notebooks for the younger kids as a blood sugar tracker.


    Finally, continue to think out of the box and brainstorm ways to identify, carry, wear, store, and record all diabetes related accessories and information. Together we could really come up with novel ideas!  I would love to hear your solutions to these pesky problems!


Published On: July 28, 2009