How you can stay ahead of diabetes
(BPT) - With diabetes on the rise, getting tested and establishing a healthy routine are more important than ever.
We’re facing a diabetes crisis in the United States. About 1 in 10 of us — nearly 37 million people — are living with diabetes, and another 96 million have prediabetes. What’s more, 1 in 5 Americans with diabetes don’t know they have it.
The high rate of diabetes in this country comes at a significant cost. If not well managed, diabetes can lead to many complications, including blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and more. Diabetes also increases the risk of developing serious complications or being hospitalized with respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19 and the flu., People living with diabetes incur an average of $16,750 in medical expenses every year — more than double the typical cost of care for people without diabetes.
Although these statistics can be daunting, the good news is there are many steps you can take to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes and avert the worst complications. And the first step is as simple as visiting your local Walgreens.
Diabetes Care at Walgreens
During Diabetes Awareness Month, Walgreens and its partners are offering free diabetes testing and complimentary education to help people know where they stand and take action to manage their condition. Head to participating locations throughout November to get a free A1C or blood glucose test. You can also tune into a virtual diabetes education session hosted by Village Medical Primary Care at Walgreens and receive complimentary education materials. Visit Walgreens.com/FreeDiabetesScreening to find participating locations.
Beyond Diabetes Awareness Month, pharmacists are a year-round resource for people living with or at risk of diabetes. Thousands of Walgreens pharmacists have undergone specialized diabetes training and can answer your questions and help you overcome hurdles in getting the care you need.
“While navigating diabetes can be complicated, the most important things you need to do are get tested regularly and develop a routine to manage your condition over time,” says Danielle James, PharmD, a Walgreens pharmacy manager in the Chicago area. “Your pharmacist can help you with both of those things, whether you have diabetes, prediabetes or an elevated risk for diabetes. This is the perfect time to start that conversation with your pharmacist.”
Testing and ongoing management look different for everyone, but they are both crucial to stay ahead of diabetes before it progresses or leads to complications. Here are the basics:
The American Diabetes Association recommends all adults ages 35 and older get screened for diabetes at least once every three years. People living with diabetes also need to undergo regular testing to monitor their condition and adjust their care regimen as needed.
Blood sugar tests are the most common form of testing for diabetes, and there are several different types:
- A1C testing measures your average blood sugar level over three months. This is the most common test to diagnose diabetes and monitor it over time to determine how well treatment is working.
- Blood glucose testing measures your blood sugar at a single moment in time and can also be used to diagnose diabetes or determine your risk of developing it. For some blood glucose tests, you will need to fast overnight before your blood is drawn.
- Blood sugar monitoring is typically performed at home by people living with diabetes to monitor and manage their condition daily. It can be done via finger pricks throughout the day or by wearing a device called a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), which measures blood glucose levels every few minutes.
Other important tests for people at risk for or living with diabetes include cholesterol and blood pressure tests, routine kidney screenings, and eye and foot exams.
Based on your condition, your Walgreens pharmacist can help you identify which types of testing you need and how often you need them.
Testing is just one piece of managing diabetes. Most people also need a routine that includes medications, lifestyle changes, and staying up to date on immunizations and other preventative health measures. Walgreens pharmacists are trained to help you with all of this. They can:
- Teach you how to keep A1C and glucose levels on target and use testing tools such as CGMs and blood glucose meters
- Share important information about your medications and help you stay on track with medications
- Counsel you on managing your diet, physical activity and weight to improve health
- Provide vaccinations for flu, COVID-19, RSV and other vaccine-preventable illnesses
- Help you navigate insurance and find cost savings through tools such as Rx Savings Finder and Find Rx Coverage
“I encourage patients to take a holistic approach to managing diabetes because there are many factors that contribute to success,” says James. “Working with you and your doctor, we can help you make sense of all the information, adjustments and new habits you’ll need to embrace to keep your blood sugar in a healthy range and protect against complications. Together, we can help you develop and stick to a routine that will empower you to live your best life."
Take the first step toward managing your diabetes or diabetes risk by visiting Walgreens. In addition to free testing and education, Walgreens is offering discounts throughout November on products to manage your diabetes. To stay protected against respiratory illnesses this winter, you can also schedule all your fall vaccinations during your visit at Walgreens.com/ScheduleVaccine.
 American Diabetes Association. Statistics About Diabetes. https://diabetes.org/about-diabetes/statistics/about-diabetes
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By the Numbers: Diabetes in America. October 25, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/health-equity/diabetes-by-the-numbers.html
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevent Diabetes Complications. November 3, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/problems.html
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID-19 and Chronic Disease Prevention and Interventions. March 15, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/programs-impact/pop/covid-19.htm
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An Additional 12 Million US Adults Become Eligible for Diabetes Screening. May 23, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/resources-publications/research-summaries/screening-eligibility.html