Living Well with Diabetes
Controlling diabetes means keeping blood sugar levels and blood pressure levels near normal – every day over a lifetime. This is no easy task.
Diabetes is complicated, yet most people with type 2 diabetes –the most common form of the disease – have not gotten the training they need to manage it well for their everyday life. There isn't a cure yet for diabetes, but healthy lifestyle habits, taking medicine as needed, getting diabetes self-management education and working with your health care team can greatly reduce diabetes’ impact on your life.
Talking with your doctor
Being prepared with your questions and goals in mind will help you and your care team or doctor make treatment decisions and a diabetes care plan that works for you.
Find resources to help prepare for a doctor visit:
- You've been referred to diabetes education. What's next? – Stay in charge of your diabetes by preparing for your health care visits
- Your Health Care Team – Information on the members of your diabetes care team and what they do, from the American Diabetes Association.
Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support (DSMES)
Diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) programs can help you manage your diabetes. Ask your primary care doctor for a referral to a DSMES program or to meet with a certified diabetes educator. DSMES is covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance plans (copays and deductibles may apply – contact your insurance company for details).
Diabetes education can help you by:
- Finding the best foods and meal plans that fit your life and budget
- Helping you understand diabetes and how it affects your body
- Showing you how your medications work and how to take them correctly
- Offering tips for coping and solving problems
- Helping you to set realistic goals for your diabetes
- Offering tools to help you track your progress
Help with insulin or medications
The cost of diabetes prescription medications and insulin has risen sharply in recent years. If you are finding it hard to pay for your medications or insulin, talk to your doctor. Never cut back or stop taking your medication.
If you are struggling to pay for your insulin, see if you qualify for Minnesota's Insulin Safety Net Program. You may be eligible for a one-time 30-day supply of insulin for $35, or a year supply for $50 per 90-day prescription.
The American Diabetes Association also has information on other Prescription Assistance Programs.
Insurance and Medical Costs
In Minnesota, most health insurance plans, Medicaid and Medicare will cover your prescription medications, diabetes supplies and equipment, and diabetes self-management education. Some people may have copays or deductibles. Check with your health insurance company for details. MDH and other organizations have provided helpful information on insurance, and what is or is not covered.
- Health Care and Coverage (Insurance) – A variety of MDH resources about health coverage options in Minnesota.
- Health Insurance – Health insurance updates, the insurance market place and insurance information for each state provided by the American Diabetes Association.
- Financial Help for Diabetes Care - Information about health insurance and programs to help cover the cost of diabetes treatments, including prosthetic care, medications, supplies and dialysis.
- Medicare’s Coverage of Diabetes Supplies and Services (PDF) – What’s covered and not covered, tips for staying healthy and where to get more information.
Help for caregivers
Caregivers are family members and friends who provide help and support to a person with diabetes. Too often, caregivers are not given the information, education and tools they need to provide the right support.
- 8 Tips for Caregivers – Information from the American Diabetes Association
- How to Help a Loved One Cope with Diabetes (PDF) – A helpful tip sheet from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
It’s hard to manage diabetes on your own. Support can come from family members, friends, support groups and even online communities who care about you. Tap into their support for encouragement, understanding and assistance.
- American Diabetes Association – Community Support
- Eat Well with Diabetes - Meal planning resources and tips for carb counting, reading labels, and managing blood sugar when eating out.