News for North Carolinians: Managing Diabetes May Be Easier Than You Think | Business Wire

PHILADELPHIA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Diabetes is quickly becoming an epidemic in the United States. According

to the American Diabetes Association and the Centers for Disease Control

and Prevention, more than 30 million Americans, including approximately

1.1 million North Carolinians, have diabetes.1 Left

unmanaged, diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney disease, heart disease

and amputations. It also claims the lives of almost 200,000 Americans

each year.2

The good news is that you can easily manage diabetes and live a healthy

and fulfilling lifestyle.

“Many of the behaviors that can help control diabetes are ones we all

should follow,” said Dr. Andrea Gelzer, chief medical officer for AmeriHealth

Caritas, a national leader in health care solutions for those in

need. “Some basic lifestyle changes can both control diabetes and

improve your health in other ways.”

Here are some common tips for managing diabetes:

Watch your numbers

It is important to watch your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol

numbers. But the most important metrics in diabetes are your blood sugar

and A1C levels – A1C is a measure of your blood sugar level over the

past three months. Ask your primary care provider (PCP) and/or

endocrinologist (a doctor who specializes in diabetes and other diseases

of the endocrine system) about how to check your blood sugar and how

often to do so. They can also work with your health insurance plan to

help you obtain the needed supplies.

Eat smart

You should develop a healthy meal plan that includes:

  • Foods lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt.

  • Foods with more fiber, such as whole grain cereals, breads, crackers,

    rice, or pasta.

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables.

  • Low-fat or skim milk and water instead of juice and soda.

Get moving

Increasing your physical activity can help you get to and maintain a

healthy weight. You should set a goal to be more active most days of the

week. One possible approach is to start slowly by taking a 10-minute

walk three times a day.

Take care of your eyes, mouth and feet

It may surprise you that your vision, mouth and feet can be indicators

of uncontrolled diabetes. Make sure you brush and floss every day to

keep your teeth and gums healthy. Check your feet for cuts, blisters,

red spots, and swelling. And contact your PCP if you experience blurred

or otherwise impaired vision.

Obtain routine health care

Keep scheduled visits with your PCP and other physicians to help find

and treat any problems early. At each visit, be sure you have a:

  • Blood pressure check

  • Foot check

  • Weight check

  • Review of your self-care plan

About AmeriHealth Caritas

AmeriHealth Caritas is part of the Independence Health Group in

partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. AmeriHealth Caritas

is one of the nation’s leaders in health care solutions for those most

in need. Operating in 17 states and the District of Columbia,

AmeriHealth Caritas serves approximately 5.6 million Medicaid, Medicare

and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) members through its

integrated managed care products, pharmaceutical benefit management and

specialty pharmacy services, behavioral health services, and other

administrative services. Headquartered in Philadelphia, AmeriHealth

Caritas is a mission-driven organization with more than 35 years of

experience serving low-income and chronically ill populations. For more

information, visit

1 “The Burden of Diabetes in North Carolina.” American

Diabetes Association, October 2017.

2 “Providing diabetes health coverage: State laws &

programs.” National Conference of State Legislatures, November 2013.