is National Diabetes Month, which each year raises awareness of diabetes’
effects on our communities. More than 100,000 Rhode Islanders – nearly 12
percent of the adult population – have diabetes, and the number continues to
rise at an epidemic rate.
good news is that you can live a long, healthy life with diabetes. The key is
to manage your diabetes to minimize its effects over time. Stay well by
avoiding these two common mistakes in diabetes care.
“I’m going to skip today’s blood sugar test or
medication dosage because I want to save money, and one day won’t make a
to a 2015 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many
patients 45-64 years old who have diabetes have skipped medication doses,
taken less medication, or delayed filling a prescription to save money. It’s
not hard to see why -- people who have diabetes spend an average of $13,700 on
medical expenses per year, and the need to consistently monitor glucose and
maintain adequate medical supplies can take a toll on stress levels.
not taking medication and tests as recommended can lead to a higher risk of
developing more costly complications later, such as nerve damage, high blood
pressure, and heart disease. Since diabetes is a chronic disease, you won’t
feel the negative effects associated with the disease right away.
addition, it’s important to monitor your blood glucose level in accordance with
your doctor’s instructions because it will keep your doctor up to date on your
overall health and help them make the right medical recommendations for you.
“Why would I need a comprehensive vision exam? Diabetes
is about blood sugar, not eye health.”
diabetes management often focuses on controlling blood sugar and blood
pressure, diabetics are also at a much higher risk of developing eye damage. In
fact, diabetes is the number one cause for new cases of blindness among
American Optometric Association has found that 12,000 to 24,000 people lose
their vision every year because of diabetes complications such as diabetic
retinopathy, which is a disease of the retina and the most common eye
complication for diabetics. The condition causes changes in the blood vessels
of the retina, including leakage or the formation of new, abnormal blood
if you don’t have symptoms and feel that you don’t need an eye health check,
retinopathy can creep up on you. Fortunately, early detection and treatment can
lessen the severity and prevent vision loss. You can ask your primary care
provider about receiving a comprehensive eye exam with dilation every year by
an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI), we understand that
managing diabetes can sometimes seem overwhelming. For more resources on
diabetes, please visit http://www.rhodeahead.com/diabetes and http://eyeondiabetes.eyemed.com/. BCBSRI
members can use the Find
tool to find an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Most importantly, BCBSRI also
offers case managers who are available to discuss any obstacles to managing a
chronic condition like diabetes, and talk through solutions.