BATON ROUGE, La – November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Louisiana has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the United States, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is raising awareness of steps everyone can take to lower their risks and improve their health outcomes.
Diabetes is a long-term health condition where someone’s body either cannot make enough of or cannot properly use a hormone called insulin that regulates blood sugar. This causes blood sugar levels to increase in the body, which can lead to serious health issues if not addressed.
“A little over 14% of adults in our state have diabetes. And, diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in Louisiana,” said Dr. Dee Barfield, Blue Cross senior medical director and vice president, Medical Management. “Even more alarming, there are many Louisianians living with pre-diabetes, which means their blood sugar levels are higher than normal and put them at increased risk for developing diabetes, but they don’t know it.”
Dr. Barfield said the good news is that with diagnosis and early intervention through lifestyle changes like adopting a healthy diet, exercising and managing stress, many patients can successfully prevent or improve their risks from diabetes.
“That’s why it’s so important to have at least one checkup a year with your health care provider,” she said. “Your provider can check your blood sugar numbers and review your family and medical history with you to let you know what your specific risks and opportunities for health improvement are. The sooner you realize your blood sugar levels are high, the sooner you can take steps to address it.”
People who have diabetes are at a higher risk for health issues affecting their eyes and vision, feet or limbs, kidneys and nerves, which means they may need more frequent checkups, Dr. Barfield said. “Your health care provider can help you monitor your blood sugar levels over time and make sure you stay up to date on any diabetes-related screenings you should have, like foot exams, retinal eye exams or kidney monitoring,” she said. “These can help you prevent more severe outcomes from diabetes.”
Learn more about staying on top of diabetes in this video (1:07). Visit the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana YouTube channel to see short health and wellness videos. Subscribe to know when new videos are added.
Follow Blue Cross on social media @BCBSLA throughout November to see original messages, videos and graphics about diabetes awareness. You can like, share or repost these to your personal social media and inspire your loved ones to schedule a checkup. Blue Cross posts regularly on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and TikTok.
STRONGER THAN Diabetes
Blue Cross has an in-house team of more than 200 clinicians who support members diagnosed with diabetes and other long-term conditions, serious illnesses or injuries through health coaching, personalized information and tips to stick to their health care providers’ recommended treatment plans.
Blue Cross health coaches include nurses, dietitians and pharmacists. They work one-on-one with members and can connect them with network providers or community resources. Members do not pay anything to work with a health coach.
Visit www.bcbsla.com/Stronger for more information about Care Management services and programs. Other health insurers offer similar health coaching services for members. Contact Customer Service for your health plan to ask about what is available to you.
Conversando Francamente: Stronger Than Diabetes
Blue Cross and Ochsner Health produced an original broadcast, “Conversando Francamente: Stronger Than Diabetes” | “Conversando Francamente Sobre la Diabetes.” A recording of this Spanish broadcast with English subtitles (32:25) is posted on the Blue Cross Facebook page and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana YouTube channel.
Hosts Anselmo Rodriguez, Blue Cross manager of Supply Chain Management and chair of the insurer’s Hispanic Americans Employee Resource Group, Dr. Aldo Russo, Ochsner Baton Rouge regional medical director, and Margarita Olivares Tillman, Access Health outreach representative and diabetes educator, talk about risk factors for diabetes, particularly among Hispanic Americans, and share resources for managing the condition.
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. Founded in New Orleans in 1934, we are a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer with offices in every major region to serve our customers. We have been recognized for the past four years as an honoree of The Civic 50, named by Points of Light as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the United States.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We invite all Louisianians to visit our website at www.bcbsla.com or talk to us on social media @BCBSLA.