“I will take better care of my diabetes.” Diabetes is a scary diagnosis because it is about more than just blood sugars. It is a disease that affects your blood vessels, and it can lead to a stroke or heart attack. Other than heart disease, diabetes is a disease that affects the eyes, kidneys, nerves and other small blood vessels. The “complications” of diabetes are really complications of uncontrolled blood sugars.
Once a person has diabetes, he or she has to watch lipids (cholesterol numbers) and blood pressure, as well as blood sugars. Medications, lifestyle and diet all affect diabetes, and managing these are the core of diabetes care. One of the tests that help us see how well diabetes is controlled is the A1C test. It is also called hemoglobin A1c ( HbA1c), or glycated hemoglobin test. The HbA1c test shows the average blood sugar levels for the past two to three months. It measures how much of the hemoglobin (red blood cells) is glycated (coated in sugar).
“Statistically, we know people who attend diabetes self-management training (DSMT) and go to yearly DSMT follow-up education manage their diabetes better,” reports Rhonda Perdelwitz, RN, BSN and Certified Diabetes Educator at Fort Atkinson Hospital. “The American Diabetes Association suggests having an A1c of 7% or less is optimal blood sugar control and you can improve, reduce or eliminate complications of diabetes.”
If your A1c test has not been done for 4 to 6 months, ask your doctor to have this test done. This blood test does not have to be done fasting. If the results are 7.0 or higher, ask your doctor to refer you for diabetes education to the nurse and dietitian.
Diabetes education is covered by some insurance plans. Because each insurance plan is different it is recommended that you call your insurance company and inquire on if diabetes self-management training is a paid benefit. If you have Medicare, diabetes education is a preventative program Medicare covers. Medicare pays for 10 hours of diabetes class education the first year of a new diabetes diagnosis and for 2 hours every year after initial diagnosis. To meet the Medicare requirements for DSMT education the patient must have a referral from the doctor. Go to www.medicare.gov to see what kind of coverage the plan you are on has.
So when you think “I am going to take better care of my Diabetes” it may simply mean asking your doctor for a referral to diabetes education.
Tags: diabetes, diabetes self-management training program, Fort HealthCare Diabetes Program
November is Diabetes Awareness Month!
You’ve heard it countless times before – eat healthy. Here is one more reason to follow that advice. Science has proven that if you lose a small amount of weight by eating healthier and being physically active 30 minutes a day, five days per week, you can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.
The National Diabetes Education Program, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has developed educational materials for many audiences and in several languages as part of the Small Steps. Big Rewards Prevent type 2 Diabetes campaign. Although there are lots of diet choices and weight-loss plans available, taking small steps to reduce fat and caloric intake and becoming more physically active is most likely to lead to successful weight loss—and helps to keep the weight off as well.
Why is preventing type 2 diabetes so important?
Diabetes is a condition where the body cannot process glucose, one of the fundamental things our body needs to have energy. If undiagnosed or not managed properly, diabetes can be very dangerous. When your body doesn’t make or use insulin properly, it can’t covert glucose into energy in order for your body to function. All this extra glucose builds up in your blood stream, depriving your body of the energy it needs. This results in high blood sugar levels.
Prolonged periods of high blood sugar can lead to a lot of problems. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to:
- Kidney disease
- Nervous system disease
- Eye problems or blindness
- Skin problems
- Heart disease
- Peripheral Artery Disease
- High blood pressure
- Dental problems
Here are some tips for eating healthier and getting you on the road to diabetes prevention:
- Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. A serving is one medium- sized fruit; ¼ cup of dried fruit; 1 cup leafy vegetables; ½ cup raw, cooked, frozen or canned fruits or vegetables. Buy a new fruit or vegetable during each shopping trip. Try eating at least one serving of a fruit and vegetable at each meal.
- Choose water instead of regular sodas or fruit drinks.
- Instead of fried chicken, try it grilled or baked. Instead of French fries or potato chips, slice a few potatoes, sprinkle them with a little oil, salt, and pepper, and bake them in the oven.
- Curb your craving for dessert or a sweet snack by eating a piece of fruit.
- Instead of salty, fat-filled snacks, eat crunchy veggies with low or reduced fat dip.
You can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes through a healthy lifestyle. Change your diet, increase your level of physical activity, maintain a healthy weight…with these positive steps, you can stay healthier longer and reduce your risk of diabetes.
Tags: diabetes, diabetes complications, diabetes prevention, diabetic diet
Are you a person with diabetes? Whether you were recently diagnosed or have been living with diabetes for years, this is a helpful reminder on the four things you must do to maintain a healthy blood sugar. Even if you are NOT DIABETIC, these tips can help keep you on track to avoid future blood sugar or insulin-related problems.
1) Test your blood sugar. Use a portable glucose meter to test your blood sugar level as recommended by your physician. Your provider will help pinpoint your target ranges, but most people with diabetes aim for blood sugar levels between 70 and 120 mg/dL before meals and less than 160 mg/dL two hours after the first bite of food, according to the American Diabetes Association.
2) Upgrade your diet. A healthful diet will help control your blood glucose and weight. Divide your plate into quarters:
- 1/4 whole grains such as brown rice
- 1/4 protein like fish or skinless poultry
- 1/2 non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes and carrots.
- 8 oz. nonfat milk
- Fresh fruit for dessert
Small adjustments like drinking more water, eating more fruits and vegetables and limiting prime rib dinners to just once or twice a month can make a huge difference!
3) Get moving. Exercise is a must. It helps you control blood sugar levels, maintain a ealthy weight, lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol. Your doctor may even be able to lower your dose of insulin or other medications. Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity on most days. There’s no need to buy equipment or join a gym: dance in your living room, jog down your street or walk the dog. The possibilities are endless!
4) See health care providers more often. At least once or twice a year, see your primary care provider for a checkup and tests to measure your glucose control, blood pressure, cholesterol and kidney function. See an eye professional and podiatrist for yearly exams and visit your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and checkup. Don’t forget to stay in contact with your diabetes educator throughout the year to address any questions or concerns right away.
Diabetes education is a Medicare-covered benefit. People with diabetes are offered 10 hours of education during their first year of diagnosis and two hours every year following.
Ask your doctor for an annual referral to a Fort HealthCare diabetes educator or registered nurse. Learn more at FortHealthCare.com/Diabetes.
Tags: blood guar, diabetes management, managing blood sugar, nutrition for diabetics, tips for diabetics