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The Importance of Managing Diabetes

By November 9, 2022September 8th, 2023Health & Wellness
A young man tests his glucose at home

Diabetes is a chronic condition that, over time, can cause a number of health problems, including damage to the kidneys. To help prevent the most severe complications, it’s important to know which foods affect your blood sugar, keep up with appointments for preventive care and medicine as prescribed, and stay in overall good health. Managing diabetes can sometimes be difficult, but it is always worth the extra effort.

What Is Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the body is unable to make insulin, a hormone needed to move sugar into cells where it can be used for energy. Type 2 diabetes is a similar condition that most often begins in adulthood. In this case, the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly common for Americans to develop type 2 diabetes as young children and adolescents. This is closely linked to increased body weight, an unhealthy diet, and lack of exercise.

Gestational diabetes affects pregnant women who did not have diabetes prior to pregnancy. While this condition usually goes away after giving birth, it’s still critical to manage it while you have it in order to protect yourself and your baby. Follow-up visits with your doctor and keeping up a proper diet and exercise are just as important after giving birth since gestational diabetes increases the risk for type 2 diabetes later in life.

How Is Diabetes Managed?

The most important parts of diabetes management are developing a relationship with a health care provider, eating healthy, and exercising. Anyone with diabetes should be seen by a provider at least twice each year, but care may need to be much more frequent if blood sugar is not under control. The provider will order tests and decide if medicine is needed or if the medicine a person is currently taking needs to be changed or increased. There are different classes of medicine — some are taken orally and lower blood sugar. Others help the insulin the body is producing or replace it entirely.

The provider will also make sure a person with diabetes is receiving vital screenings for damage that diabetes can cause when poorly controlled, such as vision loss and kidney failure. Every year, eyes and kidney function should be checked. Keeping up with care and keeping blood sugar in a healthy range most often prevents this damage.

Can People Live a Healthy Life with Diabetes?

There is no way around it: diabetes management can be complicated. Daily and even continuous monitoring of blood sugar may be needed. This is the key: Diabetes management is a team effort that starts with a trusted provider. They will match the right treatment for each person and help them stay healthy.

At AmeriHealth New Jersey, we’re doing our part to support our providers with care for diabetes. In partnership with Labcorp, we are helping providers order in-home testing for Hemoglobin A1C (a test for blood sugar values over time) and urine albumin to assess kidney health. If you are an AmeriHealth New Jersey member, check your benefits information to learn more about coverage for diabetes testing and supplies.

More ways to manage diabetes at home involve healthy eating, regular exercise, reducing alcohol intake, and stress management. Excessive sugar, certain carbohydrates, alcohol, and prolonged stress are all linked to fluctuating blood sugar levels. Meanwhile, regular exercise helps your body use insulin more efficiently. When diabetes lifestyle changes aren’t enough, medication can help keep your blood sugar under control.

If you have prediabetes, it’s not too late to make lifestyle changes. If you already have diabetes, the same lifestyle changes can prevent your condition from worsening. Remember, you can control diabetes, but you can’t do it alone. Regular communication with your doctor is key.

AmeriHealth Team

The AmeriHealth Team is here to provide well-being tips and health insurance education to help you be your healthiest.