BATON ROUGE – In observance of Diabetes Awareness Month and World Diabetes Day on Nov. 14, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana encourages Louisianians to talk with their healthcare providers about their blood sugar levels and family history to know if they are at risk.
Diabetes is a condition where the body either cannot make or cannot properly use a hormone called insulin that regulates blood sugar. This causes a person’s blood sugar levels to increase, and serious health issues can develop if this is not addressed.
“Diabetes is a common chronic condition, and in Louisiana, we have higher-than-average rates – approximately one in eight state residents is living with diabetes, and it’s among the state’s leading causes of death,” said Dr. Vindell Washington, Blue Cross chief medical officer.
“The good news is that with lifestyle changes like eating healthy food, exercising and having regular visits with your healthcare provider, you can stay on top of diabetes and keep your blood sugar levels under control,” Washington said.
At first, high blood sugar levels bring symptoms like tiredness, dizziness, hunger, extreme thirst, frequent urination and slow wound healing. Over time, high blood sugar levels can lead to eye, kidney or nerve damage, limb amputation and a higher risk for strokes or heart disease.
Louisianians can see their healthcare providers to have their blood sugar levels checked. Patients who are diagnosed with diabetes can get a treatment plan for lifestyle changes and medication, if needed. It is vital that patients who have diabetes take medication exactly as their doctors prescribe it. This is important for keeping blood sugar levels in check.
For Blue Cross members who have diabetes, the insurer’s clinical team of nurses, dietitians and social workers offers health coaching and support. There is no cost for members to work with a Blue Cross health coach. Visit www.bcbsla.com/Stronger to connect with a Blue Cross health coach or learn more about programs and services.
People with diabetes have a higher risk for gum disease (gingivitis) that can advance to more serious dental conditions, such as periodontitis, if not treated. So, it’s also good for patients to have regular checkups with a dentist. For those who are looking for dental coverage options, Blue Cross offers dental insurance plans for individuals and families. Learn more about available dental plans.
NOTE FOR BROADCAST MEDIA: Raw interview footage of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Clinical Pharmacist Brice Mohundro discussing the importance of taking medication exactly as directed for people who have diabetes and other chronic conditions is available by request.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. We invest both time and money in the communities we serve, supporting the health and wellbeing of Louisianians through more than 200 charitable organizations.
With our subsidiaries, HMO Louisiana and Southern National Life, we provide group and individual health insurance plans, life and disability insurance, group voluntary products and administrative services to one out of four Louisiana residents. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana also provides Medicare supplement and Medicare Advantage plans and is a partner in offering the Healthy Blue Medicaid Managed care plan. Louisiana is the only state where we operate, with offices in every major region to serve our customers.
Founded in New Orleans in 1934, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is a tax-paying non-profit health insurer. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.