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Diabetes Overview

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not properly produce or use insulin. Insulin is a compound that helps convert sugar, starches, and other foods into energy. When diabetes develops, your body has difficulty using the energy provided by food. Much of the food we eat is turned into sugar for our bodies to use for energy. Insulin helps sugar in our blood get inside the cells of our bodies. If your body doesn’t make enough insulin, or doesn’t use the insulin properly, blood sugar cannot get into your cells and remains at a high level in your blood. It is important to keep your blood sugar level controlled; high blood sugar levels gradually damage blood vessels and nerves, leading to multiple health problems.

There are two main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes – the body does not make insulin. Insulin helps the body use sugar from food for energy. People with Type 1 need to take insulin every day.
  • Type 2 diabetes – the body does not make or use insulin well. People with Type 2 often need to take pills or insulin.

Monitoring your blood sugar

Blood sugar monitoring is one of the most important elements in managing your diabetes. Based on the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the standard blood sugar levels should be:

Blood Sugar Ranges for Adults with Diabetes
Before Meals 70 – 130mg/dL
After Meals Less than 180mg/dL

Keeping your blood sugar at a normal or near-normal level is the best way to reduce your chance of diabetes complications. You and your doctor will decide what your target blood sugar range should be. Once you have established this target range, you will be able to use that information to adjust your food, exercise and medication.

Keys to controlling diabetes

  • Eat healthy meals and snacks – make healthy food choices such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, chicken, and lean meats.
  • Take your medication – take the medicines your doctor prescribed.
  • Monitor your blood sugar – regularly test your blood sugar and keep a daily log.
  • Get physical activity – exercise on most days – anywhere from 30-60 minutes. Take brisk walks.
  • Maintain a healthy weight – follow your meal plan and get plenty of exercise.
  • Live a healthy lifestyle – no smoking, adequate rest, avoid excessive alcohol, and reduce stress.
  • Check your feet and skin daily – contact your doctor right away about any sores that do not go away.
  • Keep doctors’ appointments and follow-up visits.
  • If you need help, ask for it.

It is essential to follow your treatment plan, including exercise and diet, and take your medication as directed. Your doctor customizes your treatment plan with your age, body, health and lifestyle in mind.

About Rx Outreach

Rx Outreach is a non-profit pharmacy whose mission is to provide affordable medications to people in need. Through Rx Outreach, patients have access to over 650 prescription medication strengths. Each year, we serve over 80,000 people across all fifty states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam.