Diabetes

Whether you have been newly diagnosed with diabetes or you have lived with diabetes for a long time, the resources you will find in this toolkit can help you stay in control of your health and learn new tips to manage your diabetes on a daily basis. It is important that diabetes is treated to prevent major health problems.

WellSense Members with Diabetes Receive:

  • Office visits with in-network doctors to help manage all aspects of your diabetes
  • Support tools to help track your key numbers and remind you about needed tests and office visits
  • In-home training for self-testing blood sugar levels

You may have heard of diabetes but do you know what it is? Some people are diabetic because their bodies are not producing enough insulin or their bodies don’t properly use the insulin it makes. Insulin is a hormone that your body produces to help you digest sugar.

Are you at risk?

If you’re overweight, have heart disease, or have high blood pressure, you’re at a greater risk of developing diabetes. You’re also at risk if you have a family history of it or if you don’t exercise regularly.

Do you know what to look for?

If you have any of the following symptoms, you should see your doctor and ask if you should be tested for diabetes:

  • Always tired
  • Always hungry or thirsty
  • Urinating often
  • Blurry vision

There are three major types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes. It is important to understand what diabetes is, which type you have and how to manage it. Ask your doctor if you’re not sure. 

Type 1 Diabetes

  • Usually diagnosed in children and young adults but can happen at any age
  • The body makes little or no insulin
  • Treated with insulin, diet, and physical activity
  • This type is permanent but taking care of your diabetes will help you feel better and stay healthy

Type 2 Diabetes

  • Most common form of diabetes
  • The body does not make enough insulin to keep blood glucose levels normal
  • You need to manage glucose control with diet, weight control, and exercise
  • Pills may be added to control glucose levels
  • You may need insulin if diet, exercise, and pills don’t control your Type 2 diabetes
  • This type is permanent but taking care of your diabetes will help you feel better and stay healthy

Gestational Diabetes

  • A special kind of diabetes that happens only during pregnancy
  • Changes that occur in your body while you’re pregnant cause your blood sugar to be too high
  • This type makes moms more susceptible to be diagnosed with diabetes later on in life
  • You can take steps to control your blood sugar and reduce these risks
  • This type often goes away after the baby is born but might not

Maintaining good blood sugar levels will help you stay healthy and stay in control of your diabetes. Carefully checking your blood sugar and writing down the results will also help your healthcare team review your plan and make changes, if needed.

You can test your blood sugar levels yourself by using a glucometer. You should ask your healthcare team what glucometer is best for you and how to use it the right way. If you do not have a glucometer ask your doctor to order one for you.

Your doctor is also the best person to tell you what your blood sugar levels should be before and after your meals. Remember to record your blood sugar levels every day and bring the record of your blood sugars and your glucometer with you to the doctor

To monitor Description

HbA1c

Less than 7%

This test is an average of your blood sugar over a three-month period. You do not need to stop eating or prepare for this test. You should have this test at least twice a year. High blood sugar levels can harm your feet, your eyes, and your kidneys. Your HbA1c goal should be less than 7%.

Blood Pressure

140/80

If your blood pressure is too high, your heart will have to work harder – and that could cause a heart attack or a stroke. Both diabetes and high blood pressure can also harm your kidneys. People with diabetes should work with their doctor to keep their blood pressure less than 140/80 and have a yearly urine test to check how their kidneys are working.

Cholesterol (LDL)

100mg/dL

There are two types of cholesterol: LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol). A quick way to remember the difference: “L” is for “lousy” and “H” is for “healthy”. It’s better to have high HDL. If your LDL is too high, it can build up and clog your blood vessels. This could cause you to have a heart attack or stroke. You should have your LDL checked at least once a year. Ask your doctor what your LDL is at your next appointment. It should be less than 100mg/dL. When you are having your blood test for cholesterol, be sure to check if you need to fast (not eat) before this test.

 

Diabetes Management Goals

Taking your diabetes medications as prescribed can prevent or delay some of the health problems caused by diabetes such as heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Therefore, it is important to take your diabetes medications exactly as prescribed by your doctor to keep your blood sugar in the normal range.

What Happens If I Don't Take My Medications As Prescribed?

If you don’t take your medications as prescribed, your blood sugar can get too high, which is called hyperglycemia, OR it can lead to blood sugar that is too low, which is called hypoglycemia. Long term, uncontrolled blood sugar can lead to serious health problems like skin infections, vision problems, foot problems, kidney problems and nerve damage. Due to the serious and long term complications of high and low blood sugar, it is very important to take your medications as prescribed to keep your blood sugar in the right range.

Hyperglycemia (Blood Sugar Too High) Hypoglycemia 
(Blood Sugar Too Low)

Causes:

  • Change or increase in food intake
  • Wrong or missed dose of medication
  • Emotional stress
  • Illness

 

Causes:

  • Meals or snacks that are too small, delayed, or skipped
  • Too much of a medication or new medication
  • Increased activity or exercise

 

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Dry skin

 

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Hunger
  • Nervousness and shakiness
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Feeling anxious or weak

 

Prevention:

  • Check food intake
  • Take your medications as prescribed
  • Consider relaxation techniques
  • See your doctor if you are sick
  • Increase use of blood glucose monitoring

Prevention:

  • Check food intake
  • Take your medications as prescribed
  • Keep a quick source of sugar such as glucose tablets or gel with you at all times
  • Increase use of blood glucose monitoring

Diabetes Calendar

Use this calendar to record your blood sugar levels while learning tips to help manage your diabetes.

Goal Tracking Sheet

This simple tool will help you track your goals and test results throughout the year.

Diabetes Management Goals

It’s important that you keep your appointments with your healthcare team in order to better manage your diabetes and live more comfortably. Blindness, heart disease, kidney damage or failure, and complications due to poor blood circulation like impotence and loss of limbs can develop if your diabetes gets out of control. Here are some common tests that you should be getting at your doctor's office.

Tests for your Eyes

Have a dilated eye exam at least once a year. Report any changes in your vision to your eye doctor immediately, as this could be caused by damage to the tiny blood vessels in your eyes. Do you want to know more about this exam and eye information? Find more eye complication info here.

Tests for your Feet

Keep an eye on your feet and ask your doctor to check them at every visit. High blood sugar can damage the nerves in your feet that allow you to feel pain. You may not feel a cut or sore. If you leave it untreated, you may get an infection which could lead to an amputation. Find more healthy feet and risk factor information here.

Tests for your Teeth

Diabetes can make dental problems worse. High blood sugar causes germs and bacteria to grow on your gums, in your mouth and on your teeth. This promotes plaque build up on your teeth. Call your dentist if you think you have problems with your teeth or gums. Be sure to brush, floss and go for dental check ups at least twice a year. Find more dental tips and info here.

Treating and managing your diabetes on a daily basis is important to prevent major health problems. It's important to maintain good blood sugar levels, keep a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and actively work with your healthcare team to keep yourself healthy!

How can I better manage my diabetes?

  • Keep a healthy diet and manage your weight
  • Get more exercise
  • Check your blood sugar on a regular basis
  • Stop smoking
  • Be aware of depression and get help to treat it
  • Work closely with your healthcare team. Contact our Care Management team for help with your diabetes.

Tip 1 – Take your medications as prescribed

  • Take your diabetes medications as prescribed by your doctor. Oral diabetes medications and insulin are taken every day but there are a few injectable medications that only need to be taken once a week. Make sure you understand how and when to take your medications.
  • To help you remember to take your medication, put a reminder note somewhere you cannot miss it, or set an alarm or a reminder on your smartphone.
  • Some gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea and diarrhea are expected and should resolve with time. If nausea bothers you, try to take your medication with a small meal or a snack like crackers.
  • You may need to take the medications for a long time or your whole life.
  • Do not stop the medication without talking to your doctor first.

Tip 2 – Fill your medications on time

  • Set up automatic refills or refill reminders at your pharmacy, OR
  • Use mail order pharmacy to get a three month supply of medications mailed to your home
  • Find out how you can get your prescriptions delivered with our Mail Order Pharmacy.

Tip 3 – Monitor your blood sugar levels

  • Blood sugar testing provides important information on how well your medications are working, or how your food intake, exercise or illness affect your blood sugar levels.
  • Check your blood sugar levels using a blood glucose meter. The frequency of testing may vary based on individual needs.
  • If you take insulin, check your blood sugar before meals and snacks and before and after exercise.
  • Follow your doctor’s advice on how often you need to check your blood sugar level.
  • Keep a record of your levels and discuss them with you doctor.

Tip 4 – Know your target blood sugar range

The American Diabetes Association recommends the following target blood sugar levels:  

  • Before meals: 80-130mg/dl
  • Two hour after meals: Less than 180mg/dl

These goals vary based on your age and personal health. Ask your doctor what your specific target goal should be.

Diabetes Calendar

Use this calendar to record your blood sugar levels while learning tips to help manage your diabetes.

Goal Tracking Sheet

This simple tool will help you track your goals and test results throughout the year.

Diabetes Management Goals

Provider Toolbox

Char Sticker Template

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