What You Need to Know About Diabetes

What You Need to Know About Diabetes
April 29, 2021 Laura Dziomba
How to stay healthy with diabetes

Diabetes is a long-term illness that has a big impact on your health. And six percent of Americans have it. The tricky thing is that 34 percent of those in our country have what’s called prediabetes—or in other words, risk factors that could lead to diabetes. Worse, they may not realize it.

How to stay healthy with diabetes

If you have diabetes, you can take important steps to live a healthy, happy life. And if you haven’t already been diagnosed, the first step is learning your risk factors.

What your doctor is looking for

Diabetics have specific symptoms before they’re diagnosed. These include:

  • Excessive hunger or thirst.
  • Losing weight without trying.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Dry skin.
  • Frequent urination, especially at night.

There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 usually develops when you’re a child, teen or young adult. It’s more common in people with a family history. Type 2 diabetes can occur at any time. Risk factors include: being overweight, a family history, and a sedentary lifestyle.

You can learn more by talking to your doctor, who can test your blood sugar to determine your risk.

Diabetes and your health

If you have diabetes, you can take steps every day to live a healthy life. And if you have prediabetes, many of these steps can also help you delay the progression of the illness. You can:

  • Eat well—it’s important to work with your doctor on a healthy diet that manages your intake of carbohydrates. And it’s always a good choice to include non-starchy fruits and vegetables, and whole, unprocessed foods.
  • Get active—regular exercise can help you reach and maintain a healthy body weight. It can also help you sleep better, feel happier, improve your memory, and even control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels (LDL and HDL).
  • Reach and maintain a healthy weight—if you need to lose weight, start by focusing on just 5-10 percent of your current weight. Work with your doctor on a weight loss plan that’s best for you.
  • Manage your blood sugar—using a glucometer, you can check the level of sugar in your blood to stay within your target range. Managing your blood sugar helps you prevent serious health problems, such as heart disease, kidney disease and vision loss.

Take advantage of your health plan

Your health plan may offer resources for diabetes support and management. And if so, be sure to take advantage of them for health guidance and the best possible outcomes.

If you have Meritain Health benefits, you may have access to a nurse coaching program for help with diabetes management. Your nurse coach will work with you to understand your condition and build a plan to help you live your healthiest life.

Your benefits may also include the Livongo diabetes management program. Livongo is a program that provides a personalized experience to help you understand your blood sugar, develop healthy lifestyle habits and improve your glycemic control. You’ll have access to a digital glucose meter for real-time glucose reading, food and activity tracking, health challenges to help you stay on track with good health, 1:1 support from a live coach, and more.

To learn more about what’s included in your benefits, check out your Meritain Health benefits booklet, visit your member portal, or contact Customer Service using the number on your member ID card.

If you’re interested in adding Livongo to your employee benefits plan, just reach out to your Meritain Health representative.