Manage Diabetes with TRICARE
By: Charlotte Caldwell
TRICARE Management Activity
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 26 million Americans live with diabetes. If current trends continue, one third of all Americans will have the disease by 2050.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form in America. However, it can be delayed or, in some cases, prevented in adults who are considered at high risk. High risk factors include a person’s ethnic heritage, weight, high blood pressure or a family history of diabetes. Research from CDC’s Diabetes Prevention Program show that by losing a small amount of weight (5 to 7 percent of total body weight), being physically active and eating healthy, people at high risk can delay or prevent diabetes.
TRICARE covers screenings for type 2 diabetes, as well as testing supplies, medications and disease management training when necessary. A doctor or primary care manager can conduct screenings, answer any questions, explain what a diagnosis means and provide details about treatment.
Patients who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes should talk with their doctor about how to manage their disease. Controlling diabetes means following a sensible diet, exercising regularly, routinely visiting the doctor and monitoring blood sugar levels. Medicine may also be prescribed to help control blood sugar levels. Carefully monitoring sugar intake and blood sugar levels helps avoid complications from the disease, which in serious cases can result in limb amputation, coma or death.
Monitoring blood sugar levels requires a blood glucose monitor and testing strips. Diabetic testing supplies, including certain monitors, test strips and lancets are covered by the TRICARE pharmacy benefit. Testing supplies are available from military treatment facility pharmacies, TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery or at any TRICARE network pharmacy. Regular prescription copays apply at network pharmacies.
Diabetes self-management training (DSMT) is an outpatient program that educates beneficiaries on managing their diabetes. Beneficiaries are eligible if they have been newly diagnosed, are at high risk for complications based on poor glycemic control, or experience a change in their treatment regimen – for example, beginning medications or insulin. Beneficiaries can contact their regional contractor for more information about coverage and eligibility or go to www.tricare.mil/coveredservices.
CDC recommends anyone who is older than 45 get tested for diabetes, especially if they are overweight. People younger than 45, but who are overweight and have one or more additional high risk factor should also consider getting tested. Anyone experiencing increased thirst, increased urination, significant fatigue, blurred vision or pain and/or numbness in the feet or hands should also be tested. These are all signs of type 2 diabetes.
For more information on how to prevent or manage diabetes, as well as healthy lifestyle tips, visit CDC’s online resource center at www.CDC.gov/diabetes.
To learn about TRICARE benefits or find a participating TRICARE network doctor visit, www.TRICARE.mil