#ThisIsDiabetes: November is American Diabetes Month

by Allie Fay, Pharm.D., CPP

Diabetes currently affects 1 in 11 Americans. So, whether you’re living with diabetes, caring for someone with diabetes, or fighting to stop it, there are steps that you can take today to better manage this condition. Below are a few of the different areas of managing diabetes that can help you in reaching your goals!

• Don’t forget to take each of your medicines as prescribed. There are a lot of diabetes medicines – pills, daily injections, and weekly injections, and each medicine works differently in your body to help reach your goals. It’s important to know what medicines you are taking and how to take each to help work best and prevent side effects.
• Remember to ask your doctor or pharmacist what to do when traveling, and how to take your medicines when you are sick.
Testing Your Blood Sugar:
• Depending on the medicines you are taking, you might have to check your blood sugar 1 to 4 times a day. Remember to keep track of your numbers in a testing log book, on a phone app, or in your meter.
• Know your numbers! For most people with diabetes, the goal Hemoglobin A1c (average blood sugar over the last 3 months) is less than 7%, and the goal blood sugar reading first thing in the morning before eating is 80-130mg/dL. These goals can change based on your other conditions, age, or side effects from medicines. Ask your doctor what your goals are.
• Know the signs of and how to treat low blood sugar.
• Exercise helps your body move sugar from your blood into your muscles for energy.
• You don’t need to run a marathon – the goal is to get active and stay active by doing things you enjoy!
• Start small, set goals, and make a plan for getting active.
Healthy Eating:
• Diabetes is NOT about avoiding carbs or feeling you must starve. It’s about well-balanced meals of vegetables, protein (meat and nuts), carbs (rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, etc.), fruit, and dairy, and being mindful of the size of our portions.
• Like exercise, start small, set goals, and make little changes to your diet.
• Try first cutting down on foods high in sugar – like regular soda, sweet tea, and desserts.
Other Areas of Diabetes Care:
• It is important for people with diabetes to have yearly eye visits and dentist visits. Have your eye doctor send your visit summary to The Family Health Centers so we can stay up-to-date on your whole health!
• Check your feet regularly for cuts or scrapes that you may not feel. These injuries could become infected and lead to a trip to the hospital.
• Make sure you are up-to-date on certain vaccines like flu, pneumonia, and hepatitis B. People with diabetes are at a higher risk of the diseases that these vaccines protect against.

For more resources, visit http://www.diabetes.org/.
Have questions about your or your loved one’s diabetes? Schedule an appointment today with your doctor or a clinical pharmacist at The Family Health Centers to review your medications and talk about ways that you can best manage diabetes.