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Raising Awareness for Diabetes

Raising Awareness for Diabetes

A diabetes diagnosis can be disappointing and even frightening news. However, you’re not alone. This condition is common and affects at least 37 million people in the United States, in addition to those who are undiagnosed. If left untreated or not properly managed, it can lead to serious complications such as blindness, nerve damage, and kidney failure. Diabetes is a constant battle, not only for those diagnosed, but for their loved ones, caregivers, and health care providers. The good news is you can manage diabetes through mindful management strategies and a commitment to healthy lifestyle choices, including a diabetes-friendly diet and getting plenty of exercise.

What Is Diabetes?

The two main types of diabetes are types 1 and 2. Both are chronic diseases that affect how the body regulates glucose, which is commonly called blood sugar, and how the body uses the insulin hormone to help the blood sugar enter the body’s cells. Blood sugar is the fuel that feeds the body’s cells as its main source of energy. The primary differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes are that type 1 diabetes usually develops early in life while type 2 diabetes is usually caused by lifestyle factors.

Type 1: With type 1 diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t make insulin. Without insulin, blood sugar cannot enter the cells. It stays in the blood, leading to high blood sugar in the body. Having too much sugar in the blood is not healthy and can lead to problems quickly or later in life. Although type 1 diabetes usually appears during childhood, it can develop in adults.

Type 2: Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. It occurs when your blood sugar is too high. With this type of diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use it well. Type 2 diabetes can develop at any age, but usually occurs at age 45 or older.

Other types: Prediabetes, although not full-blown diabetes, is a condition in which blood sugar is higher than normal but not so high as to be labeled type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes involves high blood sugar during pregnancy, and it typically goes away once the woman gives birth, although it can indicate a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later.

Testing for Diabetes

The information above is not meant to frighten you, but to educate those who don’t know much about diabetes and those who may be at risk. It’s recommended that you test for diabetes annually, and you can do so by getting a physical exam, dilated eye exam, and lab work such as a Hemoglobin A1C, Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (EGFR), and Microalbumin Urine Test. To test for diabetes, make an appointment and speak with your primary care provider who can order the tests mentioned above for you. When visiting your PCP, you might keep these questions in mind to ask during your appointment.

• What is my target blood sugar range?

• How often should I check my blood sugar?

• What do these numbers mean?

• Are there patterns that show I need to change my diabetes treatment?

• What changes need to be made to my diabetes care plan?

Learn More About Diabetes & How You Can Control It

Florida Health Care Plans provides high-quality health insurance solutions for Floridians. We care about your health and take to heart that we are more than just your insurance company and healthcare providers, but your neighbors, too. That’s why we offer diabetes education classes that are free to FHCP members. These classes are led by professionals, including Certified Diabetes Care Education Specialists (CDCES), registered dietitians, and registered nurses. The classes cover disease overview, nutritional tips, learning the signs and symptoms of high or low blood sugar levels, and much more.

For details about our free diabetes education classes, please contact the FHCP Diabetes/Health Education department at 386-676-7133 or 877-299-4518.

About Florida Health Care Plans

Florida Health Care Plans serves our community with over 9,000 local health care providers in Flagler, Volusia, Seminole, Brevard, and St. Johns counties. Our Care Centers are designed with convenience and comfort in mind, whether you are visiting your family doctor, getting an X-ray, or utilizing our cost-effective, members-only pharmacies.

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