Simple Lifestyle Choices Can Prevent Diabetes
Simple lifestyle choices can help prevent lots of diseases and health conditions. No matter how old you are, it’s important to eat healthy, move your body regularly and keep your weight in check. Let’s take a look at one ongoing health condition that affects millions of Floridians: diabetes. Your lifestyle may help you avoid it.
What is Diabetes?
If you have diabetes, your body has trouble changing your blood glucose (blood sugar) into energy. As a result, you have too much glucose in your body. That can lead to things like heart disease, blindness and problems with your kidneys and eyes, to name a few.
- Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas stops making insulin. Insulin is the hormone that helps get blood glucose into your cells for energy. Without insulin, blood sugar levels get too high. Because this is an immune system function, there’s no way to prevent Type 1 diabetes. People with this condition usually need to take insulin every day.
- Type 2 diabetes is the more common. It can run in the family or be brought on by being overweight, not exercising enough and having high blood pressure. This means there are things you can do to help avoid it!
A simple blood test can show you and your doctor if your blood sugar is too high. Coverage for a blood sugar test depends on the plan you’re in.
- Most individual and family plans cover an annual checkup visit for a $0 copay.
- If you have health coverage through your job, check your benefits for the exact cost.
- If you have a Medicare health plan, talk to your doctor about your risk for diabetes during your Annual Wellness Visit. If you need a diabetes screening, there’s no extra cost to you as part of your Medicare health plan as long as you use a network provider.
How to Know If You’re at Risk: Prediabetes
Luckily, there’s a warning sign between having healthy blood sugar and a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. This is called prediabetes, and it can increase your risk of heart disease and even stroke. If you have prediabetes, you should take quick action to get your blood sugar back to normal.
Take this quick, one-minute quiz to see if you’re at risk of having prediabetes.
If your risk is high:
- See your doctor right away for a blood test'
- If you have prediabetes:
- If you get coverage through your job: You may qualify for a prediabetes care program. Check your health plan benefits or ask your HR department.
- If you have a Medicare health plan: The Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program is included in your benefits. To find out more and see if you are eligible, please call 1-855-717-8813 (TTY 711) between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET, Monday – Friday.
- If you buy your own individual or family health plan: Our specialized care teams can help you find a doctor or specialist and get the medications and supplies you may need. Our nurses will teach you how to manage your condition. They can also help you find a local diabetes education program. Call 1-888-476-2227 (TTY 1-800-955-8770) Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.
If You’ve Already Been Diagnosed with Diabetes
Call the Florida Blue Care Team if you have diabetes and have trouble managing your health, medicine or appointments. They can provide support to help you:
- get your blood sugar under control
- coordinate your care needs with your doctors and specialists
- manage and understand your medications
- find transportation to doctor’s appointments
Our team of nurse experts will support, educate and encourage you to live your best life as you manage your condition. Call them at 1-800-955-5692, and choose option 3. TTY users call 1-800-955-8770,
50 Ways to Lower Your Diabetes Risk!
If you don’t have diabetes, there are easy lifestyle choices you can make to help avoid developing it later. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Exercise more. Quit smoking. These don’t cost a thing, and they may just change your life.
Check out this handy list of 50 simple steps you can take right now.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIH) 2019