Diabetes is a serious condition that affects many Western New Yorkers. Just look at the numbers: adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to die from heart disease. The rate of amputation for people with diabetes is 10 times higher than for those who don’t have the condition. Finally, $12.8 billion was spent in 2006 on medical costs and lost productivity related to diabetes in the state of New York.
The P2 Collaborative of Western New York (WNY) – an alliance of people who get, give and pay for care working to improve the quality of care that people get at the doctor’s office and hospitals – is working to help people with diabetes throughout the region understand their condition, learn about what they need to do to stay healthy and help them find doctors who provide the best care for diabetes.
On P2 Collaborative’s website, they offer a guide to help people with diabetes live healthy, happy lives. It has tips to help you be a partner in your health care with your doctor. Simple things, like asking questions during your appointment if you don’t understand a procedure or if you experienced difficulties with your condition in between visits, can make all the difference.
What your doctor should do every visit:
• Check your weight and blood pressure — which should be less than 130/80.
• Look at your feet.
• Develop an action plan to manage your diabetes.
What your doctor should do every three to six months:
• Give you an A1C test to check your blood sugar levels.
• Review your action plan.
What your doctor should do at least once a year:
• Check your cholesterol levels.
• Check for problems with your kidneys.
• Schedule an eye exam.
Finally, one of the most important things a patient can do is to find a doctor that’s the best fit for you and your family. One way to do this is to review doctor performance ratings that show which doctors provide high-quality care by following nationally recommended guidelines for the treatment of diabetes and other conditions. Western New Yorkers can visit Reaching for Excellence http://rx4excellence.org/diabetes/ to compare local doctors to find the one who works best for them and their families.