Get the Basics About Diabetes Prevention

May 01, 2019

Did you know that one out of every three people in the United States has diabetes, pre-diabetes, or dangerous levels of insulin resistance? You can combat diabetes or avoid it all together by living a healthy lifestyle and getting routine checkups. Learn how to stay healthy and check your risks. 

What is Diabetes? 
Diabetes is a disease that weakens your body’s ability to convert sugar into energy. Normally, your pancreas produces a hormone called insulin to help stabilize the amount of sugar in your blood. When someone has diabetes, their body can’t make enough insulin or the body is no longer responsive to the insulin made, which leads to a dangerous amount of sugar in the bloodstream. As a result, people with diabetes are at greater risk of heart disease, kidney failure, stroke, and vision loss. 

These are the most common types of diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes is more serious (and rare):

  • Typically develops during childhood but can begin at any age
  • Can’t be cured or prevented
  •  Requires insulin injections, usually at every meal or snack 
  • Also requires frequent checking of blood sugar levels 


Type 2 Diabetes is preventable but still serious (and is very common):

  • Is most common in adults over the age of 45, but now we are starting to see it at younger ages.
  •  Is related to obesity/overweight, poor diet, lack of physical activity, and family history
  • Usually requires oral medication or a daily insulin injection 
  • Can be cured with a healthy lifestyle!


Stay Proactive, Stay Healthy!
Whether you’ve been told you’re pre-diabetic or you’re managing diabetes, a healthy lifestyle will help prevent complications and reduce the impact the disease can have on your life – and a healthy lifestyle can also help you prevent diabetes in the first place. Here are some ways to lower your risks and manage your long-term health. 
 

1.    Get Tested Regularly 
doctor and patient

Blood sugar and cholesterol checks, kidney tests, foot and eye exams, and blood pressure screenings can help prevent or delay health complications. 
 

2.    Stay Active
family at park

Besides helping you keep your risks in check, regular exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight and fight/manage stress.  Find something you enjoy and start small: go for a brisk walk, dance along to music, garden, take fitness classes, or even follow an exercise video. If you’ve never exercised before, these tips can give you a healthy head start.

If you have diabetes, carry a healthy snack in case your blood sugar drops, and be sure to check your blood sugar levels before and after you exercise. 
 

3.    Maintain a Healthy Diet
healthy cooking
Eating well is important for diabetes prevention and control. Choosing a variety of healthy foods gives your body the nutrition and energy it needs.

  • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. 
  • Whenever possible swap fried for grilled foods. 
  • Drink water instead of sweetened or sugary beverages (like soda, diet soda and juice).
  • Learn which foods are high in carbohydrates (e.g. tortillas, potatoes, and rice) so that you can eat these in moderation.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Avoid smoking.

You should also manage your meal portions and monitor your sugar levels. You may need to work with your doctor and/or dietitian to create a meal plan that works for you.


4.    Look for Signs and Take Action
magnifying glass

If you start to experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor immediately.  

  • Being constantly thirsty or hungry all the time with no explanation can be a sign of diabetes. 
  • Frequent infections and slow-healing cuts are red flags that you possibly have a condition affecting your immune system, such as diabetes.
  •  Tingling in your hands and feet may be a sign of diabetes-related poor blood flow and of nerve damage. If you act early, the effects may only be temporary.
  • Changes in vision, including not being able to focus, or blurred vision can be a sign of diabetes. If you have diabetes, make it a point to get your vision checked regularly and let your doctor know your condition.  


How AltaMed Can Help if You Have Diabetes
At AltaMed, we offer a wide range of onsite services, including blood sugar testing, retinal eye exams, and free health education classes. AltaMed pharmacists can help you manage your medications. AltaMed registered dietitians can help you with healthy eating habits. To learn more, or to make an appointment, call us at (888) 499-9303

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For Your Health: 6 Top Questions About Open Enrollment

October 15, 2018

We’re dedicated to helping everyone get the care they need to grow healthy—and that means empowering you to make the best decisions about you and your family’s health. We’ve answered some of your most important questions about the insurance Open Enrollment period.

Don’t forget, we’re here to help, and we can walk you through your options for free. 

Get help in English: 833-444-5560
Get help in Spanish: 833-444-5570

 

What is Open Enrollment?
couple on couch

Open Enrollment is a period of time when you get to make important decisions about your health care and your insurance coverage for the next calendar year. You can stay on the plan you’re on, but you can also choose a new plan that works better for your budget or your health needs.  

The plan you pick can have a big impact on you: it will affect how much you pay for a doctor’s visit or prescription, which treatments and services are paid for, and which doctors you can see. 
 

When is Open Enrollment?
calendar

It depends on what kind of insurance or medical coverage you have.  If you get your benefits through Medicare, your Open Enrollment period runs from October 15 to December 7. If you get your care through Covered California, your Open Enrollment period runs from October 15 to January 15.
 

Why Does It Matter to Me?
woman at doctors offices

Open Enrollment is really important! It is your chance to get the best care for you and your family. Which plan you choose affects:

  • The price of your premiums, or the amount you pay every month for your plan
  •  Which doctors and hospitals you can see
  •  How much you pay for your care, including office visits, prescriptions, and other services
  •  How much you will have to pay out of your own pocket for the entire year
  •  If you can get certain kinds of care (for example, dental or optometry visits)

 

What Happens If I Don’t Choose?
signing documents

If you already have insurance or Medicare, you will likely continue with the same plan you were already on. If you are on a plan through Covered California or your employer, and your plan goes away, you will automatically get assigned to a plan that offers similar coverage at a similar price.

 

What Happens If I Don’t Have Coverage and Miss the Deadline?
happy patient
 

If you are at a job and are offered coverage but miss your deadline, you won’t be able to enroll until the following year. But if you have certain life events, like getting married or having a baby, you may qualify for a special enrollment period. You can also get a short-term plan or you may be eligible for Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

The same is true for Covered California.

If you miss your deadline to sign up for Medicare, you can enroll during the General Enrollment Period that runs from January 1 to March 31 every year. Unfortunately, your coverage won’t start until July 1. 
 

How Can I Learn More? 

AltaMed is ready to walk you through your options for free. We’re right here to answer any questions, and to help you grow healthy, every day, at any age. Learn why AltaMed is your best choice and get started today. 

Get help in English: 833-444-5560
Get help in Spanish: 833-444-5570

 

 

Eating Until You’re Color-Full

July 30, 2018

Colorful foods aren’t just nice to look at, they offer a lot of benefits to your health! 

berries

Red, Blue, and Purple Food:

  • They can lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, urinary tract infections, and memory loss.
  •  These foods contain potassium, vitamins A and C, and folate. 
  • They are known for anti-inflammatory properties, helping to protect against cell damage, and keeping the heart, blood, joint, and immune systems healthy. 
  • Foods include tomatoes, pomegranates, berries, watermelon, cabbage, beets, eggplant, grapes, raisins, cherries, kidney beans, and red pepper.

 

lemons

 Orange and Yellow Food:

  • They can improve immune function and lower the risk of heart disease, vision problems and cancer. 
  • These foods contain folate, potassium, bromium, vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium. 
  • They are known for flushing out toxins and keeping the eyes, skin, teeth, and bones healthy. 
  • Try carrots, lemons, oranges, corn, peaches, nectarines, mango, squash, pineapple, bell pepper, cantaloupe, and sweet potatoes. 
     

avacados

Green Food:

  •  They can lower the risk of cancer and vision problems. 
  •  These foods contain folate and vitamins A, C, and K. 
  •   They are known for fighting free radicals, helping prevent blood clots, and regulating blood sugar. 
  • Foods include leafy greens like kale, spinach and arugula, green apples, limes, kiwi, avocado, cucumber, asparagus, green beans, grapes, and broccoli. 


garlic

White Food:

  • They can lower the risk for stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and cancers like colorectal cancer.  
  • These foods contain potassium, folate, niacin, riboflavin, and vitamin C. 
  •  They are known for providing essential dietary fiber and supporting the immune and circulatory systems.
  •  Try pears, bananas, cauliflower, mushrooms, ginger, dates, potatoes, garlic, onions, black eyed peas, and white nectarines. 


According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we should all try to eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day in a variety of colors. So go ahead and fill your plate with a rainbow of fruits and veggies!