Understand, manage or prevent diabetes
Information to help you better understand, manage and prevent diabetes
More than 34 million Americans have diabetes. That’s about one in every 10 adults. Many more have pre-diabetes, and don’t even know it. Through a variety of programs and resources, GEHA is committed to helping you manage and understand diabetes and take an active role in your health.
Complications from diabetes can lead to stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, nerve damage, glaucoma or cataracts, skin infections and numbness in the feet, according to the American Diabetes Association.
It can affect anyone, from any walk of life. The causes of diabetes are largely unknown, but there are some actions people can take to decrease the likelihood of this disease. The primary method is to monitor blood sugar levels.
This wellness webpage is designed to help you stay on top of your blood sugar and make the lifestyle changes necessary to effectively manage high blood sugar.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas makes little or no insulin. People with Type 1 diabetes must take regular insulin shots to stay alive. Type 1 diabetes can appear at any age, but it is typically found in children and young adults.
Approximately 96 million American adults — more than 1 in 3 — have prediabetes. Of those with prediabetes, more than 80% don’t know they have it. Untreated, prediabetes can lead to Type 2 diabetes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Type 2 diabetes comprises between 90% to 95% of all diabetes diagnoses. Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic condition also known as adult onset diabetes. It is most common in adults older than 45 years with a family history of diabetes, or who are overweight and sedentary
It is also more prevalent in the African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
Symptoms of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes:
- Increased thirst and urination
- Increased hunger
- Sudden weight loss
- Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
- Dry skin
- Excessive, persistent tiredness
- Slow-healing sores
- Increased infections
Some women develop a complication in pregnancy where their body cannot regulate insulin levels and they become diabetic. All women who have had gestational diabetes are at higher risk for developing Type 2 diabetes in their lifetime. If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, your pregnancy will be designated as high risk.
You can rely on help from GEHA's Maternity and NICU Support Team.
I’ve been diagnosed with a form of diabetes, now what?
A new diabetes diagnosis can be overwhelming and scary. The thought of changing your diet drastically is usually not something that anyone welcomes.
With effective management, you can help control your diabetes and reduce your risk factors for serious health complications as you age.
Your doctor will assist you in working with a dietician or nutritionist to evaluate your diet. You will also want to pay more attention to exercise habits and try to incorporate in a walk or some physical activity after meals if possible. This is important to burn o excess carbohydrates, which convert to glucose in your system and spike your blood sugar. It also improves your blood circulation and helps manage your weight.
Depending upon your A1C level and your other risk factors, your physician may recommend some form of medicine management to help keep your blood sugar within an acceptable range. This may be through oral prescriptions or by insulin injection, and may change over time as your blood sugar levels adjust.
Initial diagnosis is through your doctor. After diagnosis, Type I and Type 2 diabetic patients should regularly test their blood several times daily through a testing meter or device. An A1C blood test, which evaluates the average levels of blood glucose over the past 3 months, will usually be repeated a couple of times a year to establish a baseline number for your blood sugar levels. A number above 6.4% means you have diabetes. A range of 5.7% to 6.4% means you have prediabetes. GEHA medical plans cover in-network annual screenings, including twice-yearly A1C screenings, at 100% with an in-network provider. To schedule your A1C test, use the GEHA Find Care Tool.
Source: American Diabetes Association
The information contained herein is for informational and educational purposes only. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice and if you have questions regarding a medical condition, regimen, or treatment you should always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice from a qualified medical professional because of information you have read herein.