Diabetes-related complications have increased during the pandemic

Managing diabetes

Nearly one-third (31%) of British Columbians live with diabetes or prediabetes.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, a time to build awareness about diabetes and its impact, diabetes management and the risk factors that come with improperly managing diabetes.

Concerningly, diabetes-related complications and prescriptions have increased since the start of the pandemic. New data from Shoppers Drug Mart shows a 17 per cent increase in new patients filling diabetes prescriptions compared to 2019 to 2021, underscoring the importance of access to care for patients with diabetes.

As a pharmacist, I’m here to support you and am qualified to help you manage your diabetes. Whether you are newly diagnosed or have been living with diabetes for many years, I’ve put together some tips and services to consider when it comes to diabetes management.

• Make lifestyle adjustments: Nutrition and exercise are two important aspects of diabetes management. Including at least 30 minutes of activity a day can help bring down blood sugar, prevent heart disease, and manage stress. When it comes to nutrition, working with a registered dietitian to understand what your body needs can have a major impact on overall health.

• Manage stress levels: While it is easier said than done, managing stress is very important when it comes to diabetes management. When stress levels are up, blood sugar levels may also increase. You may also find that it can be more challenging to manage diabetes when you are stressed. Routines like getting exercise, eating healthy and taking diabetes medications may be harder to complete. Consider finding ways to relieve stress that work for you, such as meditation, yoga or taking a long walk.

• Smoking cessation: When left unmanaged, the excess sugar in blood that causes diabetes can eventually lead to serious health complications, including heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, limb amputation, and anxiety or depression. If you smoke, your risk of health complications increases. Smoking can also make it more challenging to exercise – an important part of diabetes management. If you’d like to quit, your local pharmacist is an excellent resource.

• Ask for help: Managing diabetes or pre-diabetes can be a lifelong challenge, but it is not something you have to face on your own. Together, we can review your medications, conduct an A1C test to measure your average blood sugar level over a three-month period, and teach you about your blood glucose monitor. We can also explore if there are additional technologies that can help make tracking easier.

For more information on diabetes and how you can best manage it, speak with your local pharmacist.

Nathan Klaassen is the pharmacist and owner the Shoppers Drug Mart in Kamloops.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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