2020 is definitely the year you want to stay on top of your health and be proactive. If you have Diabetes, it’s that much more important to adhere to your medications and work with your doctor to make sure you address all your questions and concerns. Westmed pharmacist, Hetal Patel shares the checklist you can use to make sure you’re staying on top of things.
Know your numbers!
- Do you know what the A1c test is? This is an important measure of your average blood sugar levels over the past 3 months and it is used to monitor how well your treatment is working over time. If you don’t know what your “goal” A1C level is, be sure to ask your provider at your next visit!
- Measuring your blood sugar helps you better control your diabetes. Do you check your own blood sugar and, if so, how often? Westmed has certified diabetes educators (CDE) who can show you how to measure this important value on yourself. Be sure to schedule an appointment with our CDE for this helpful instruction.
- Make sure your glucose meter (or “glucometer”) is storing the results, so you can share them with your provider. If your glucometer is not working, you can schedule time with our CDE to help them troubleshoot.
- Have a plan formulated by you and your doctor on what to do if your blood sugar is high/low
- Schedule an annual wellness checkup with your primary care provider to review your sugars, cholesterol, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Manage High Blood Pressure
- Do you know what your target blood pressure is? The blood pressure goal for diabetes management is 130/80. Be sure to ask what your blood pressure is at every visit. If it’s high, ask your team to repeat it. Often the 2nd reading is lower after you’ve relaxed a bit!
- If you need medication for high blood pressure, remember that this medication can also help protect your kidneys from damaging effects of Diabetes. Hypertension is a silent killer, and the combined effect of Hypertension and Diabetes can cause a lot of damage to your kidneys. It’s essential to control both!
Check Your Kidney Function Annually
- Diabetes is a leading cause of kidney failure and dialysis, but like many other conditions related to Diabetes, these are preventable with good care. Have your doctor check the function of your kidneys at least once a year with a blood test.
Take Good Care of Your Feet
- Diabetes can cause blockages in the small blood vessels in your feet. This can lead to ulcers and, in worst case scenarios, amputation from progressive gangrene. Your podiatrist should do a careful exam of your feet at least annually. You should also examine your feet every day for any blisters, swelling, dry skin and cuts. If you notice any problems, be sure to alert your provider.
- Be very careful clipping your toe nails— a small cut can lead to infection and bleeding etc. It’s better to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist, if needed.
Book Your Yearly Eye Exam
- Diabetes can lead to permanent vision loss. This is often preventable with annual eye exams. Schedule an annual eye exam with one of our eye specialists, or have your outside results sent to your provider. Alert your provider to any changes in vision.
- Many of the chronic conditions associated with Diabetes can be worsened by smoking. The combination of Diabetes and smoking is a “double whammy” for your heart and blood vessels. Westmed has a smoking cessation program to help you quit, just ask your provider for more details.