Diabetes

Understanding your diabetes

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

  • Only occurs 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

How can I manage my diabetes?

  • Healthy diet and managing your weight
  • Getting exercise
  • Checking your blood sugar
  • Working with your healthcare team

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

Tips and resources for living well with diabetes

It’s important that you and your healthcare team manage your diabetes in order to stay healthy. 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.

Important tests:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

You should also try to:

  • Eat healthy
  • Increase your physical activity
  • Stop smoking
  • Be aware of depression and get help to treat it

Additional resources

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

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

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 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

Work with your WellSense care manager to learn how to manage your asthma. Our care management program is offered at no cost to our members, and it’s just a phone call away. Call 1-855-833-8119 to see if you or your family members are eligible for this program. Learn more.