UK HealthCare

Diabetes management is a team effort

man checking insulin levels
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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.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.