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Control diabetes with ABCS

GEHA | July 9, 2020

Diabetes Pre-diabetes
Regular A1C tests are vital to keep diabetes under control.

Diabetes affects nearly all of your body, so managing blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels can help prevent the health issues that may arise with diabetes.

Patients with diabetes will get assistance from their physician to create a self-care plan, but a good rule of thumb is to manage your ABCS.

A is for A1C, the test that informs you and your health care team of your average blood sugar level over the past two or three months. This helps determine the type and amount of diabetes medicine you need. A1C tests are needed at least twice a year. For many patients with diabetes, the goal is to get an A1C number of 6.5 or below. Again, your health care team will help decide a target A1C number and a plan to meet it.

B is for blood pressure. For most patients with diabetes, the goal is below 120/80 mm Hg. Type 2 diabetes increases the risk for heart disease, but managing blood pressure can lower this risk. Exercising regularly, eating healthy and taking medications as prescribed are good ways to keep your blood pressure low. These steps also help improve A1C levels and eliminate bad cholesterol.

Speaking of which ….

C is for cholesterol. LDL is the bad cholesterol that can accumulate and clog your blood vessels. HDL is the good cholesterol that helps remove LDL from your blood vessels. Patients with diabetes are more likely to have elevated levels of LDL because diabetes tends to lower the rates of HDL and raise LDL levels. This condition is called diabetic dyslipidemia.

S is for stop smoking. If you currently smoke, GEHA offers a tobacco cessation program to help you quit. Quitting is especially crucial for patients with diabetes. Both smoking and diabetes narrows the blood vessels, making your heart work harder (and the accumulation of LDL easier).

Stopping smoking directly helps blood pressure and cholesterol levels, in addition to overall health. Quitting lowers risk for heart attack, stroke, nerve disease, kidney disease, diabetic eye disease and amputation. It improves blood circulation and helps make physical activity easier.

GEHA will help you quit smoking

GEHA’s medical plans offer 100% coverage to help you quit smoking. No copays, coinsurance, deductibles, dollar limits or in-network or out-of-network differentiation. GEHA’s smoking cessation benefits include:

  • Up to four sessions of counseling for each attempt to quit, with two attempts to quit covered each year.
  • Both over-the-counter* (with a physician's prescription) and prescription drugs approved for smoking cessation.

*Nicotine gum is covered, but you must get a prescription from your doctor or receive the drugs as part of a plan-approved tobacco cessation program for it to be covered with no copays and coinsurance.

For more information, call GEHA Customer Care at 800.821.6136 or consult your GEHA Plan Brochure. For more information on the FEHB tobacco cessation benefit, visit OPM's Quit Smoking webpage.

“Know your blood sugar numbers: Use them to manage your diabetes.”, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, March 2016.
"Managing diabetes.”, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, December 2016.
“Know diabetes by heart: High blood pressure, diabetes and your heart.” www.knowdiabetesbyheart. American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association, 2020.
“Cholesterol abnormalities and diabetes.” American Heart Association, 31 January, 2016.