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1. Does Medicare cover diabetes-related medical expenses?

  • Medicare covers supplies for people with diabetes, whether or not they use insulin.
  • These include glucose testing monitors, blood glucose test strips, lancet devices and lancets, and glucose control solutions.
  • Medicare also covers the cost of therapeutic shoes, self-management training, nutrition counseling, flu and pneumococcal pneumonia shots, and glaucoma screening for people with diabetes.


2. What are some good types of physical activity for people with diabetes?

Walking vigorously, hiking, climbing stairs, swimming, aerobics, dancing, bicycling, skating, tennis, basketball, volleyball, or other sports are just some examples of physical activity that will work your large muscles, increase your heart rate, and make you breathe harder – important goals for fitness.


3. Are there any safety considerations for people with diabetes when they exercise?

  • You should avoid some kinds of physical activity if you have certain diabetes complications.

  • Exercise involving heavy weights may be bad for people with blood pressure, blood vessel, or eye problems.

  • Diabetes-related nerve damage can make it hard to tell if you’ve injured your feet during exercise, which can lead to more serious problems. If you do have diabetes complications, your health care provider can tell you which kinds of physical activity would be best for you.


4. How much and how often should people with diabetes exercise?

  • Experts recommend moderate-intensity physical activity for at least 30 minutes on 5 or more days of the week. Some examples of moderate-intensity physical activity are walking briskly, mowing the lawn, dancing, swimming, or bicycling.

  • If you are not accustomed to physical activity, you may want to start with a little exercise, and work your way up. As you become stronger, you can add a few extra minutes to your physical activity.


5. What is islet transplantation?

  • Islet transplantation is a procedure which researchers hope will allow people with type 1 diabetes to manufacture their own insulin and avoid daily injections.

  • Cell clusters called islets, which contain the cells that produce insulin, are transplanted from a donor pancreas into the pancreas of a person with type 1 diabetes.

  • The goal is to transplant enough islets to produce enough insulin so that injections are no longer necessary. The long-term success and effects of this procedure are still being studied.


6. What are some recent improvements in diabetes care?

  • External insulin pumps can replace the discomfort of daily injections.

  • Laser surgery can treat diabetic eye disease and prevent blindness.

  • Successful kidney and pancreas transplantation procedures bring hope to people with organ failure.

  • New monitors make it easier and more comfortable for people to test and track their blood glucose.


7. How can diabetes affect my sexual response?

  • Many people with diabetic nerve damage have trouble having sex. For example, men can have trouble maintaining an erection and ejaculating.

  • Women can have trouble with sexual response and vaginal lubrication.

  • Both men and women with diabetes can get urinary tract infections and bladder problems more often than average.


8. How can diabetes affect my mood?

  • The psychological stress of having diabetes may contribute to depression, but diabetes’ metabolic effect on brain function may also play a role. At the same time, people with depression may be more likely to develop diabetes.

  • The risk of depression increases as more diabetes complications develop. When you are depressed, you do not function as well, physically or mentally; this makes you less likely to eat properly, exercise, and take your medication regularly.

  • Psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both can treat depression effectively.


9. How does diabetes affect how I respond to a cold or flu?

  • Being sick by itself can raise your blood glucose. Moreover, illness can prevent you from eating properly, which further affects blood glucose.

  • In addition, diabetes can make the immune system more vulnerable to severe cases of the flu.

  • Everyone with diabetes—even pregnant women—should get a yearly flu shot. The best time to get one is between October and mid-November, before the flu season begins.


10. How can I keep my mouth, gums, and teeth healthy if I have diabetes?

  • You can help maintain your oral health by keeping your blood glucose as close to normal as possible, brushing your teeth at least twice a day, and flossing once a day.

  • Keep any dentures clean. Get a dental cleaning and exam twice a year, and tell your dentist that you have diabetes.

  • Call your dentist with any problems, such as gums that are red, sore, bleeding, or pulling away from the teeth; any possible tooth infection; or soreness from dentures.


11. What should I do on a regular basis to take care of my feet?

  • Look for cuts, cracks, sores, red spots, swelling, infected toenails, splinters, blisters, and calluses on the feet each day. Call your doctor if such wounds do not heal after one day.

  • If you have corns and calluses, ask your doctor or podiatrist about the best way to care for them.

  • When sitting, keep the blood flowing to your lower limbs by propping your feet up and moving your toes and ankles for a few minutes at a time.


12. How can diabetes affect the digestion?

  • Gastroparesis, otherwise known as delayed gastric emptying, is a disorder where, due to nerve damage, the stomach takes too long to empty itself. It frequently occurs in people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

  • Symptoms of gastroparesis include heartburn, nausea, vomiting of undigested food, an early feeling of fullness when eating, weight loss, abdominal bloating, erratic blood glucose levels, lack of appetite, gastroesophageal reflux, and spasms of the stomach wall.