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Money, Diabetes And You

Glucose meter, syringes, lancets, strips, insulin, medication… for many people, all of that costs a lot—sometimes too much. The burden is even heavier for the less affluent, such as seniors with fixed incomes, for example.

According to Diabetes Canada (formerly the Canadian Diabetes Association), 57% of Canadians living with diabetes say they are unable to follow the treatment they were prescribed because they can’t afford the medication, the devices and the associated supplies.

Considering the risks of complications related to improper blood glucose management—neuropathy, strokes, blindness, amputation, etc.—this statistic is quite alarming.

A variable amount

In Canada, one factor affecting the annual cost to patients is the province they live in. On average, a person with diabetes might pay over 3% of their annual salary, or more than $1,500. The situation also changes completely based on whether you have a private health insurance plan.

Saving on test equipment?

It’s never a good idea to jeopardize your health to spare your wallet. All in all, there are plenty of other expenditures you should consider cutting before thinking of reusing your lancets or skipping an insulin injection.

Biking, walking or using public transit instead of travelling by car is a good way to cut expenses. Quitting smoking is also a real breath of fresh air for your bank account.

Eating healthy: a double win!

Avoiding processed foods is good not only for your health, but also for your wallet. A good meal is built on quality fresh ingredients. Many websites or cooking shows can offer you quick, simple and absolutely delicious recipes.

Note that legumes, tofu and other vegetarian options are often less expensive than meat, which makes them another great way to save money without sacrificing your protein intake.

A few tips to save money at the grocery store:

  • Plan out your meals.
  • Stick to your grocery list.
  • Buy seasonal fruits and vegetables.
  • Never do your grocery shopping on an empty stomach!
  • Compare prices by checking the unit price or the price for equal quantities.
  • Avoid “diet” or “for diabetics” foods.

And if you haven’t done so already, cut down on alcohol and sweetener-based sugary drinks—both your blood glucose level and your bank account will thank you.

Ultimately, proper blood glucose management also makes for good finances.

American Diabetes Association, “Eating Healthy On a Budget – It Can Be Done!”, My Food Advisor, Recipes for Healthy Living: Accessed September 12, 2017.
Canadian Diabetes Association and Diabetes Québec, “Diabetes: Canada at the Tipping Point – Charting a New Path”: Accessed September 12, 2017.
Canadian Diabetes Association, “The Burden of Out-of-Pocket Costs for Canadians with Diabetes”: Accessed September 12, 2017.
Canadian Diabetes Association, “A Healthier Canada, A Healthier Economy. Recommendations by the Canadian Diabetes Association for the 2012 Federal Budget,” Brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, August 2011: Accessed September 13, 2017.

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