UK HealthCare

Diabetes management is a team effort

man checking insulin levels
stefanamer; iStock/Getty Images Plus.

The University of Kentucky Public Relations and Strategic Communications Office provides a weekly health column available for use and reprint by news media. This week's column is by Simon Fisher, M.D., Ph.D., acting director of UK HealthCare’s Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 14, 2022) November is recognized as National Diabetes Awareness Month. It is an opportunity to bring attention to diabetes and help people better understand and treat this deadly disease.   

Diabetes occurs when your blood glucose levels are too high. It affects about 37 million Americans, including adults and youth. It disproportionally affects people in Kentucky (474,456 or 1 in 7). Diabetes can damage the eyes, kidneys, nerves and heart, and it is linked to some types of cancer.

Understanding diabetes and working closely with your health care team is extremely important in managing your diabetes. Here are some tips to help!

  1. Learn about diabetes. Learning about diabetes and how it affects your body is important in knowing what steps to take to care for yourself and what care works best for you. Talk to your primary care doctor and learn how to best manage your blood sugar levels and meet your goals.
  2. Take control as soon as possible. Research has shown that acting soon after being diagnosed can help prevent diabetes-related complications such as kidney disease, vision loss, heart disease and stroke. Managing your diet, medications and overall health over the long term can help limit the risk of developing diabetes complications. 
  3. Build your health care team. For individuals with diabetes, it is important to have a strong health care team consisting of your primary care doctor, a nutritionist and a diabetes educator to tailor to your specific diabetes needs. Talk to your primary care doctor about recommendations or any other further care you may need. If your blood sugar control remains suboptimal, consider obtaining a consultation with a diabetes care specialist or endocrinologist.
  4. Create healthy habits. Eating healthy, staying active, achieving an optimal weight, getting enough sleep and limiting stress can be extremely beneficial to your overall health, limit the risks of further diabetes-related health problems, and help you to manage your diabetes.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.