You’ve just been diagnosed with diabetes. Now what? You are now part of a large group of people (approximately 30 million Americans) that have to figure out how to manage the cost of diabetes. Even though these can be troubling times financially for you, it’s VERY important to keep up with your care. It will save you money long term.
What Is The Cost Of Diabetes?
Being diabetic means you are much more susceptible to other diseases. Your cholesterol levels may rise, increasing the chance of heart disease. Too much sugar also interferes with the specialized cells needed for vision. So, make sure your health plan covers eye doctors. High blood sugar also weakens our immune systems, so you may want to get vaccinated come flu season as well as pneumonia, Hep B and tetanus. If you aren’t already brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily, start. People with diabetes are more prone to develop gum disease. Finally, too much blood sugar can reduce blood flow, so your feet are in constant jeopardy of infection because they are the point on your body farthest from the heart.
That’s not even covering the basics for managing diabetes itself. For that, you’ll need a blood sugar monitor. Your health care practitioner and you will discuss how often you need to test your blood. Usually, it’s two or more times a day if you’re on insulin.
Speaking of insulin, not only will you need it on hand if prescribed, but you’ll also need an injector pen or needles to administer the drugs.
Whether you have health insurance or not, you’ll need to check in with a doctor or health care practitioner at least three times a year. One of the things they will want is professional blood draws to determine the efficacy of treatment. Whether or not you should be on a stronger dosage of insulin or even on insulin at all is determined in these tests.
Managing The Cost Of Diabetes
If you are on health insurance provided by work, look into what is covered and what is not. Vision and Dental usually are not, so you might have to make arrangements there, but it’s not as crucial IF you take care of yourself. If you’re on your own health plan, make sure doctor visits co-pays aren’t too high. Also, check to see if your insulin needs don’t max out your benefits for prescription medication. Whatever you do, DO NOT stop taking your medications or reduce how often you take them without first talking to your medical practitioner.
It is possible to buy insulin in bulk, but not all insulin is the same. Check with a professional to know how long you have once you’ve opened a container of insulin. Also, insulin has a shelf life even unopened. Check the expiration date on the bottles and make sure to use prior to that date. Balancing usage with expiration dates will save you money in having to throw away expired bottles.
Do not buy alcohol swabs. All you need is soap and water for the injection site. Clean it well, but don’t incur that additional cost.
Research glucose meters. You can get one for free, but make sure that the one you get doesn’t require expensive test strips for the blood. It’s the strips where they get you. The good news is you can order those in bulk. Many insurance plans charge a lower co-pay if you order a 90-day supply.
Here’s the good news about type 2 diabetes, especially in regards to lowering the cost of diabetes on your wallet. You can’t cure the disease, but you CAN get it go into remission. Part of the treatment for the disease is eating better and getting more exercise. If you take this part really seriously, there’s a chance of remission. That means your body will go back to making insulin regularly on its own. Consequently, your blood sugar levels return to normal. If this happens, you won’t need medication or daily testing anymore. But you do have to get regular check ups to make sure you stay in remission.
Remission is most likely to occur in the early stages of diabetes or after a big weight loss. The longer you wait, the less likely it will be for remission. This is because the body can lose its ability to make insulin over time. This is another reason why early detection is crucial when it comes to diabetes. If you haven’t been tested, do so here! Time is of the essence.
What Happens When Diabetes Goes Untreated?
Some of you might be tempted to cut corners in other, unhealthy ways. We’ve mentioned a few above. We told you not to do that. Here’s why:
- When blood sugar rises, HDL cholesterol (of “good”) lowers. People with diabetes are 70% more likely to have hypertension. Arteries start to harden. This leads to increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
- The longer you let diabetes go untreated, the more likely you are to go blind. About 10,000 people lose their eyesight yearly due to diabetes.
- About half the people who don’t manage diabetes will damage the kidneys within 10 years. 40 % of those will go to kidney failure, requiring dialysis or transplant.
- Too much glucose leads to nerve damage. At first, it’ll be tingling in hands & feet, but eventually neuropathy leads to pain.
- If that nerve damage gets too bad, you’ll need to amputate your extremities, most likely a foot. About 60% of 73,000 people a year who have to amputate lower-limbs do so because of diabetes.
Clearly, the cost of not treating diabetes is much higher than managing the cost of diabetes. That’s not even including all the medical bills associated with the above.
The good news is Walk-in Lab is here to help. Not only can you find out if you have diabetes, but we can provide the regular blood tests needed for managing treatment for a lot less money than anywhere else. Click here to see how!