According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. and the leading cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputation and blindness in adults. Rates of diabetes have been on the rise over the last few decades, and more than 30 million U.S. adults now have diabetes.
Diabetes is a chronic condition whereby the body cannot use insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, which helps convert blood sugar (or glucose resulting from the food we eat) to energy. To treat the disease, patients sometimes require a complex drug regimen and lifestyle modifications, both of which can be difficult to manage.
This November is American Diabetes Month® and to mark the occasion, here are four things that people living with diabetes can do to help them better manage the disease and prevent debilitating and costly complications.
1. Manage diet and engage in a healthy lifestyle. Healthy lifestyle choices are key to keeping diabetes in check. A healthy diet full of plant-based foods, lean animal proteins and foods low in saturated fat is key to keeping weight and diabetes under control. In addition, regular light to moderate exercise – for at least 30 minutes per day – can help control blood glucose, maintain a healthy weight and support appropriate blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Because these types of modifications can be challenging, CVS pharmacists are here to help by providing personalized support as well as helping direct patients to information and products which can aid in lifestyle management.
2. Take medications as prescribed. Research shows that when people take their medications as prescribed they can experience better overall health outcomes and lower their risk of costly and life-threatening complications. This is especially important with diabetes. Because cost can be a barrier to accessing and taking medications, CVS Health launched ReducedRx, a prescription savings program that offers discounts on certain medications, including insulin, through pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) CVS Caremark.
3. Monitor blood glucose. Using a glucose meter (glucometer) several times a day will help track blood sugar levels. This is especially important if a patient takes insulin to help ensure blood sugar levels are within an appropriate range and can also help prevent diabetes-related complications. In addition, some glucometers record blood glucose readings via the cloud in a patient’s electronic health record, which can help health care providers have a more complete view of patients’ management needs.
CVS Health offers connected glucometers to pharmacy benefit management (PBM) members enrolled in Transform Diabetes Care, a program available to PBM clients to help improve the health outcomes of their members, lower pharmacy costs and decrease medical costs by improving medication adherence, A1C control and lifestyle management.
4. Get A1C checked. This test can help track whether or not a patient’s diabetes is under control. It can be done at a health care provider’s office or at one of our convenient MinuteClinic locations.
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