A: November is National Diabetes Month. It’s a good time to make sure you understand how you can prevent complications from this disease. A diabetes diagnosis brings with it an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, nerve damage and kidney disease. This is serious stuff! Fortunately, you can reduce the risk of these complications by effectively managing your diabetes.
- Pay attention to your blood pressure, cholesterol and A1C levels.
- Take those dietary suggestions seriously. Pay special attention to your intake of sugar, salt, and saturated and trans fats. Include more fiber, fruit, vegetables and whole grains in your diet. Make a habit of substituting water for soda.
- Get a move on – or get your groove on; do something! Increasing your activity level will decrease your risk of getting diabetes as well as minimize your risk of complications if you already have it.
- Take advantage of the diabetes-specific services and screenings available through Medicare. Glaucoma testing, self-management training, and foot exams and treatment are covered for both those at risk of diabetes as well as those that have already been diagnosed.
- Do what you can to manage your stress level (easier said than done, I know).
- Take all the medications prescribed by your doctor. They’re pricey and getting pricier, but there are financial assistance programs available. Contact your doctor, the drug manufacturer or www.needymeds.org.
Lastly, order or download a copy of “Medicare’s Coverage of Diabetes Supplies & Services” from www.medicare.gov
. Make sure you understand how Medicare Parts B and D cover these services. Now get to work!