November is National Diabetes Awareness Month

November is here, that means that along with elections, we get to talk about diabetes again. Once again I’ll just provide a brief recap, or overview of diabetes, then highlight some of the things that we are doing in our pharmacies to help patients with diabetes.

What exactly is diabetes?

Diabetes is a progressive disease in which your body is unable to efficiently process sugar to use as energy. Your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin that is used to move sugar from your blood into your cells to use for energy or store for later. When you have diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or your cells don’t respond to insulin. When this happens, you are unable to get the sugar from your blood into your cells.

There are two main types of diabetes; Type 1 and 2. Type 1 diabetes (formerly known as insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes) is caused when your own immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes is caused by your body not producing enough insulin or your body not responding to the insulin being produced, called insulin resistance.

Is diabetes that big of a problem?

The answer is YES! The most recent statistics reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that in 2015, it’s estimated that 9.4% (30.3 million) of the U.S. population had diabetes, 1 in 4 didn’t know they had diabetes. With numbers like this, diabetes is a growing epidemic. In the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than tripled as the American population has aged and become more overweight.

Are you at risk for developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes?

You’re at risk for developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes if you:

  • Are overweight
  • Are age 45 or older
  • Have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
  • Are physically active less than 3 times a week
  • Have ever had gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant) or given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds

So what can you do to reduce your risk of developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes?

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Lose weight if you’re overweight
  • Regular physical activity – 150 minutes per week
  • Eat healthier

How can we help?

  • We will be offering prediabetes screenings at our pharmacies through the month of November
  • We will also be offering free blood glucose testing at pharmacies this month
  • Having diabetes makes you more likely to contract Hepatitis B and Pneumonia. We offer immunizations for both at our pharmacies (don’t forget your flu shot)
  • Talk to our pharmacy staff about our PharmaSmart program to help monitor your blood pressure
  • Join our RX Savers club for access to affordable medications to treat diabetes
  • Free Glucocard meter and 50 count test strips for $9.99.
  • Dietitian approved, month-long diabetic menu and shopping lists

As always, stop by any of our pharmacies if you want any more information or help with your diabetes concerns. Thanks!

Jason Miller, Pharm. D.
Pharmacy Clinical Program Manager

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