posted by Marilyn Tavenner
on November 17, 2016
I know early detection of diabetes is important. I saw it with my daughter.
When my daughter was 10 years old she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes – and she is one of about 1.25 million Americans affected by the disease.
There is good news. While my daughter will be a diabetic throughout her life, she has tools at her disposal to manage her condition so it doesn’t dramatically affect her quality of life. From testing and monitoring her blood glucose levels to taking insulin injections to eating healthy and exercising, she took control of her health to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Today she is a healthy young woman who relies on an insulin pump and her medical team to help her fulfill her life dreams.
Because she was diagnosed during the disease’s early stages, we were able to work with her doctor to create a treatment plan that was right for her. Within a few days of her diagnosis, she was surrounded by a health care team that included pediatric endocrinologists, advanced nurse practitioners, family practice, and nutrition counselors.
I take comfort in knowing that there is a whole health care team ready to assist my daughter. It also includes her health plan, which offers valuable services, as well as coverage for care, supplies, and medications. Health plans offer support, as well as financial security, so that people with diabetes can manage their condition with confidence. This can take the form of self-management programs tailored to each person’s need so they can live better with their condition and trained lifestyle coaches who motivate people to make lifestyle changes that help control blood sugars.
If left untreated, diabetes type 1 and type 2 can lead to serious health problems including hospitalization, heart disease, stroke, blindness, and amputation. The earlier people are diagnosed, the easier it is to control the condition and prevent complications.
So now, during National Diabetes Month, I encourage you all to seek evaluation and treatment for a loved one who may be struggling with this disease. Through early detection and treatment, we can help them achieve a better quality of life.
Marilyn Tavenner is President and CEO of AHIP.