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Have diabetes? Here's one of the most important things you can do.

Diabetes is a condition in which the body doesn’t properly make (type 1) or use (type 2) enough insulin, a hormone that turns food into energy. And it’s widespread: one in 10 people in the United States have diabetes, and an estimated 23.8% of that 30.3 million are undiagnosed.

But people diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes have the power to manage it. 

There are three major types of diabetes as well as rarer types. All types of diabetes cause blood glucose levels to be higher than normal. Learn about the differences.

An apple a day

If diabetes is both preventable for those at risk and manageable for those who have already been diagnosed, why is it still so common?  

One of the biggest hurdles is a simple one: convincing patients to follow treatment guidelines. Half of all people with a chronic disease, including diabetes, do not take their medication as directed.

“It can be really hard to make lifestyle changes or take medication when you don’t have symptoms,” said Karen Coderre, former director of pharmacy clinical management and quality at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC). 

By learning to control blood sugars, people with diabetes can greatly reduce their risk of developing complications.  

So how can you improve your medication management?

Consider the following tips and tools:

  • Take your medicine every day as prescribed – even on the good days. 
  • Just because you don’t feel an immediate difference does not mean your medication isn’t working! 
  • Call your doctor if side effects from your medications are causing you to stop taking them. You may need to change your dose or switch to another medication, and your doctor won’t know to help unless you let them know how you’re feeling. 
  • Don’t skip meals: always keep exercise and food in mind when taking your medicine.  
  • Follow the instructions your provider has given you regarding appropriate food and exercise choices. 
  • Invest in a pillbox, prepare a drug diary, set a phone reminder or explore other organizational tools to stay on top of things and in control. 
  • If you have a lot of medications to juggle, talk to a pharmacist for suggestions about your list of drugs. 
  • Talk to your hometown pharmacy about automatic refills or 90-day supplies or to AllianceRx Walgreens Prime about mail-order options.
  • Check your remaining refills on the bottle each time you fill your prescription. If more refills are needed, contact your doctor. 
  • If cost is a problem, explore your options. Your pharmacist or provider will know if your medications have a generic or lower-priced version available. Let your health care team know if cutting costs is a priority for you — they’re here to help. 
  • Do NOT stop taking necessary medications, skip doses or split pills in order to save money. Treatment and hospitalization for resulting problems can be much more costly down the road.  
  • NOTE: Some drugs require more than a provider’s prescription to be covered by Blue Cross NC Blue Medicare plans. Learn more on the Blue Cross NC website. 
  • And no matter what: talk to your health care team if you have any questions or concerns. We’re here to help! 
  • Connect with your local pharmacist or contact Blue Cross NC Customer Service through the phone number on the back of your member ID card. 

Taking your medicines as directed by your health care provider is one of the best things you can do for your health. But staying on track with your medicines can be a challenge. Sometimes you may forget to take your medications. If you do, try these tips to help you remember to take your medicines.

  • Set daily routines. Take your medication right after eating breakfast or right before going to bed.
  • Use a clock or cell phone alarm, calendar, or notes to remind you to take your medicines at the right time each day.
  • Use pillboxes or other daily medicine organizers.
  • Use your smartphone or computer to help you remember. For example, there are applications (apps) you can download that will remind you when to take your medicine. Ask your family and friends to remind you when to take your medication.

Diabetes can be a complex disease to manage. That’s why Blue Cross NC is devoting time, money and people power to help simplify a complex disease.

What is Blue Cross NC doing to help?

From investing in statewide initiatives to making calls directly to members each day, Blue Cross NC and its dedicated support staff are constantly working to improve the lives of North Carolinians with diabetes. 

In February 2019, Blue Cross NC invested $5 million in Diabetes Free NC to expand free access to diabetes prevention programs for all North Carolina communities.

Our Care Management & Operations (CM&O) Department works with physicians and members to facilitate the most medically appropriate, cost-effective, quality care for our members. Our CM&O staff are here to help you arrange care. Connect with our CM&O staff by calling 800-672-7897

And one of our many Blue Cross NC pharmacists may check in with you directly to remind you of upcoming or missed prescription refills. 

Take the next step

Work with your health care team on how best to regulate your medication usage.   

Consider a Diabetes Self-Management Program (DSMP) – a 6-week interactive group workshop specific to people with Type 2 diabetes. 

There’s no day like today to take control of your health and tackle how you manage your diabetes. 

If you haven’t been diagnosed but are interested in learning more about prediabetes, call the National Diabetes Education Program at 800-860-8747 for a free booklet.

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