Go the distance with diabetes

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If you have diabetes, you’re not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates over 120 million U.S. adults live with diabetes or prediabetes.1 It’s the perfect time to brush up on facts and lifestyle and prevention tips. If you or someone you care for has diabetes, read on for steps to encourage a healthy lifestyle. 

You may wonder if you should be concerned about COVID-19. The American Diabetes Association says diabetics may face worse outcomes, but are not at greater risk for contracting the virus.2

However, people with several chronic conditions—such as type 2 diabetes, obesity or heart disease—may experience more serious complications if infected with COVID-19. These conditions lower the body’s immune system response, and diabetes increases infection risk. When people with diabetes develop a viral infection, it can be harder to treat due to blood sugar fluctuations and, possibly, other diabetes complications. You can lower your risk of complications by controlling blood sugar levels and following your medication, diet and exercise routine.3

Diabetes 101 

When you have diabetes, your blood sugar (glucose) levels are too high. Glucose is a sugar that comes from food you eat; your body uses it for energy. The pancreas (a gland behind and below the stomach) releases the hormone insulin to break down food. When your body makes little or no insulin, or insulin doesn’t work the way it should, glucose levels stay high. The result? Diabetes or prediabetes. 

Symptoms and types

Common symptoms include: 

  • Increased thirst 
  • Unexplained weight loss 
  • Frequent urination 
  • Feeling weak or tired 
  • Blurred vision
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet

There are 4 main types of diabetes: 

Type 1: The pancreas produces little to no insulin, which causes blood sugar to build up in the bloodstream. A healthcare provider prescribes artificial insulin to regulate blood sugar. 

Type 2: The body resists the effects of insulin, and sugar builds up in the blood. Type 2 usually develops in people over age 45, particularly if they’re inactive or overweight. Treatment includes medication therapy, with or without insulin. Take a 60-second type 2 risk test

Prediabetes: Blood sugar levels rise higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Prediabetes is often reversible through diet and exercise. Over 88 million adults have prediabetes, and 84% of them don’t know they have it.4

Gestational: During pregnancy, hormones produced by the placenta cause insulin resistance and elevated blood sugars. While often resolving after the birth, if untreated, gestational diabetes may affect your baby’s health. 

Keep complications at bay 

Staying active and maintaining a normal weight can help you lead a quality life. However, if blood sugar levels remain high over long periods of time, complications (such as nerve pain, vision damage or cardiovascular issues) may occur. 

We encourage you to reduce the impact of possible complications: 

  • Monitor glucose levels. Many diabetics test their blood sugar—using a blood glucose meter—upon waking, before meals and at bedtime. 
  • Get an A1C test at least twice a year at your healthcare provider’s office. This test provides a 2- to 3-month average of your glucose levels. 
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise helps improve blood glucose management and makes insulin and other medications work more efficiently. 
  • Follow your meal and medication plan. Work with your provider and a registered dietitian to create a medication and meal plan to achieve normal glucose levels. Limit intake of sugar and high-carbohydrate foods. 

You’re in the driver’s seat with diabetes. Your condition is managed mostly by you, with support from your healthcare team. Managing diabetes may feel overwhelming, but all you do to keep your treatment plan on track is worth it! And, Humana pharmacists are available 24/7 to answer questions about your prescriptions.

Drug therapy 

Besides insulin, there are many medications to treat diabetes. You can order generic or branded medication from Humana Pharmacy® and get it delivered safely and quickly to your location of choice. Common generic drugs for type 2 patients include dapagliflozin (brand name: Farxiga®) and metformin (brand name: Glucophage®). 

If you’re a Humana Pharmacy customer, you can order diabetes supplies by signing in to your account and choosing “Diabetes Supplies” (under “Shop Supplies”) at the top of the page. You may also speak to a friendly Humana Pharmacy representative by calling 800-379-0092 (TTY: 711), Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 11 p.m., and Saturday, 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., Eastern time. 

Thriving with diabetes 

Wherever you are on your diabetes journey, you can lead a vibrant, well-balanced life. Take care of yourself, ask for support from your healthcare team, and life—including the highs and lows of diabetes—can be sweet. 

Sources:

  1. “Diabetes fast facts,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last accessed October 29, 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/quick-facts.html.
  2. “COVID-19 and diabetes,” Diabetes Voice, last accessed October 29, 2020,  https://diabetesvoice.org/en/news/covid-19-and-diabetes.
  3. “COVID-19: Who’s at higher risk of serious symptoms?,” Mayo Clinic, last accessed October 29, 2020, https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/covid-19-whos-at-higher-risk-of-serious-symptoms
  4. “Prediabetes—Your chance to prevent type 2 diabetes,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last accessed October 29, 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/prediabetes.html#:~:text=Approximately%2088%20million%20American%20adults,%2C%20heart%20disease%2C%20and%20stroke.

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