Diabetes management supports a healthier life with fewer complications
If you’re among the 37 million people in the U.S. who have diabetes, you may know that managing the condition isn’t easy. Whether you’re newly diagnosed or have been living with it for many years, daily self-management is required to help you stay in control of your health.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic condition that negatively affects your body’s ability to process sugar (glucose) using insulin. Insulin helps regulate blood sugar levels by allowing your body’s cells to use it as energy. When your body doesn’t make enough insulin (Type 1 diabetes) or your cells stop responding to insulin (Type 2 diabetes), too much blood sugar remains in your bloodstream.
Excess sugar in your bloodstream can lead to serious health issues. Common diabetes complications include heart disease, chronic kidney disease, nerve damage, and other problems with feet, oral health, vision, hearing and mental health. It’s important to keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range as much as possible to help reduce these risks.
Management prevents complications
Diabetes is best managed through medications, eating healthy, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight and monitoring blood sugar levels. However, diabetes management also includes regular A1C testing (also known as the hemoglobin A1C or HbA1c test) and dilated eye exams:
- A1C: The A1C is a simple blood test that tells you a lot. Not only can it be used to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes, it can also measure your blood sugar levels over the past three months. This helps you and your health care provider monitor how well your diabetes treatment is working and adjust if needed.
- Dilated eye exam: Diabetes can damage the small blood vessels in the retina, which is the part of the eye that sends images to your brain. This is called diabetic retinopathy, and it can cause poor vision or blindness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting a dilated eye exam at least once a year to protect your eyesight.
Stick to your medication plan
With diabetes, the higher your blood sugar levels are, the greater your risk of having serious health issues. Insulin and pills that lower your blood sugar are examples of prescription drugs you may take to keep your blood sugar at a stable level. Cholesterol-lowering medication like statins also may be recommended as a treatment for people with diabetes.
One reason people may not control their diabetes well is because they don’t take their medications as directed. If your health plan includes access to medication support through regence.com or the Regence app, you can compare prescription drugs for side effects, cost, safety and effectiveness. You can even chat with a pharmacist online to get peace of mind about your options. Remember, it’s important to take all your medication as prescribed and to talk to your provider before stopping or changing doses.
We’re here to help
We’re committed to ensuring Regence members who are living with diabetes receive the support needed to manage their chronic condition. To learn what is available through your health plan, sign in to your account on regence.com. You can also live chat or message us after signing in, or call the number on the back of your Regence member ID card.