Checking the pulse on your diabetes management

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. It is the month where many organizations focus on, not just diabetes awareness, but also education, research, fundraising and hope. Why November? Well, November 14 is the birthday of Dr. Frederick Banting. Dr. Banting was a Canadian physician who, along with Charles Best, a medical scientist, discovered insulin in 1921. In 1923 Dr. Banting and Mr. Best won the Nobel Prize for their discovery and changed the lives of millions of people living with diabetes. Leigh Ann Brooks, RN, BSN, RD, CD, CDE, nursing services operational lead, Diabetes Education Center, shares more about how this observance impacts a variety of populations.

Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, taking care of yourself is a very important part of avoiding complications. To assist with this, The American Diabetes Association has compiled Standards of Care for People with Diabetes. Each standard has a guideline and a time frame in which it should be done.

November is a great month to reflect on your year and determine if you have met each standard. In honor of Dr. Banting’s birthday, November 14, the following is a list of 14 standards of care for your diabetes.

14 Standards of Care for Diabetics
  1. A1C – Target for non-pregnant adults is <7%. This should be checked every 3-6 months.
  2. Foot inspection – Visual inspection by you daily and by your physician at each visit.
  3. Foot examination – Assess for pulse, sensation and reflexes each year by your physician.
  4. Dilated retinal eye exam – Performed by an ophthalmologist or optometrist every year. Type 1: First exam should be done within 5 years of diagnosis. Type 2: First exam shortly after diagnosis.
  5. Fasting lipid profile – LDL should be less than 100 mg/dL or less than 70 mg/dL if high risk. HDL should be greater than 40 mg/dL for men and greater than 50 mg/dL for women. Triglycerides should be less than 150 mg/dL. This should be tested once a year.
  6. Blood pressure – Should be less than 140/90 and should be done each time you see your physician.
  7. Kidney function – Type 1: Tested in those with diabetes for 5 years or more. Type 2: Tested starting at diagnosis and during pregnancy. Should be tested each year.
  8. Dental health – Dental exam every 6 months.
  9. Flu vaccine – All people with diabetes older than 6 months of age should have a flu vaccine each year.
  10. Pneumonia vaccine -  People with diabetes should speak to their physician about getting the pneumonia vaccine, especially if they are over 65 years of age.
  11. Hepatitis B vaccine – Adults with diabetes who are 19-59 years of age should have the vaccine. Healthcare providers may also recommend this for unvaccinated adults with diabetes who are 60 years of age or older.
  12. Aspirin therapy – The recommendation is 75-162 mg each day for men older than 50 and women older than 60 who are at risk for cardiovascular disease.
  13. Weight – Maintaining a healthy body weight is important for those with diabetes. A reasonable weight loss is recommended in persons with diabetes who are overweight.
  14. Stay educated! – Continue to seek updated information from your physician and certified diabetes educator. Research in the field of diabetes is ongoing and the American Diabetes Association will update these standards of care to reflect the latest information.

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