What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that keeps your body from making or using insulin, which helps turn food into energy. When you have diabetes, the process of changing food into energy doesn't work well and sugar builds up in your blood. If blood sugar stays too high, it can slowly cause problems to your heart, kidneys, eyes and feet. There are two types of Diabetes
- Type 1 Diabetes: Occurs when your body does not make insulin.
- Type 2 Diabetes: Occurs when your body does not make enough insulin or it does not work well.
What is recommended care for Diabetes?
- Every Doctor Visit: Check your weight and blood pressure. The blood pressure goal for most people is less than 140/90.
- Every Doctor Visit: Look at your feet.
- Every Doctor Visit: Develop an action plan to manage your diabetes
- Every 3-6 Months: Give you an A1C test to check your blood sugar levels for the last three months. It lets you and your doctor know if your blood sugar levels have been close to normal, too high or too low. The goal for most people is less than 7 percent.
- Every 3-6 Months: Review your self-management goals and action plan.
- At Least Once Per Year: Give you a urine and blood test to check for problems with your kidneys.
- At Least Once Per Year: Arrange for a dilated eye exam to check for eye problems, and a dental exam to check your teeth and gums.
What do the reports tell me?
You can use the quality reports on this site to compare how well doctors' offices give the recommended care for persons with diabetes. Higher scores are better unless noted. Persons with diabetes averaged the following recommended tests and blood sugar levels:
- 92% received a HbA1c test at least once annually
- 63% had blood sugar levels controlled to < 8% for A1c
- 22% had blood sugar levels not well controlled to > 9% for A1c (lower score is better)
- 86% received the right testing for Nephropathy (kidneys)
- 44% received the right Eye Exam (Retinal) test
Where can I learn more?
Kentucky Diabetes Network - The Go-to-Hub for Diabetes Information
National Diabetes Education Program - Consumer guide describing the four steps to control diabetes and live a long, active life; includes many resources; also available in Spanish
The American Association of Diabetes Educators - Resources for consumers, including videos, a self-care worksheet and a blog
American Diabetes Association - Everything from the basics about diabetes to recipes and links to get advice from experts on how to fit exercise into your daily routine