Marine Corp Veteran Allan Parish wants you to know about a new VA campaign aimed at giving Veterans a better understanding of their diabetes numbers.
The “Understand Your Diabetes Numbers” campaign educates Veterans and their families on the disease. For instance, it explains hemoglobin A1C, glucose meter, blood pressure and kidney tests and other vital measurements.
After all, Parish knows how important that information is. “I was taught how to care for myself as a type 1 diabetic and what the symptoms of hypoglycemia were,” he said.
He receives care at the Parma VA community-based outpatient clinic.
One in four Veterans enrolled in VA health care services has diabetes. Consequently, this campaign encourages Veterans to be proactive with their health care teams by improving their understanding of diabetes test results.
Parish remembers he was constantly feeling run down. He drank large amounts of water and went to the bathroom frequently throughout the day.
“I knew something was wrong. Still, I didn’t realize I was a Type I diabetic until I ended up in an emergency room in Cleveland after nearly blacking out.
“Being a Type 1 diabetic requires me to pay attention to all aspects of life. Eating, exercising, taking care of wounds immediately and getting proper rest. Everything I do affects my overall health and quality of life.”
VA’s Office of Patient Care Services oversees the year-long campaign, which addresses treatment goals, medication and nutritional management. In addition, key topics include understanding the importance of hemoglobin A1c test results. Finally, the program promotes shared decision making between Veterans and their health care team.
Veterans can learn about hypoglycemia safety, insulin differences and good nutrition and carbohydrate counting. Also, about kidney function and blood pressure measurement.
Choosing Wisely®, a collective effort among professional societies, guides VA’s diabetes campaign. The goal is to reduce medical tests, treatments and procedures that may be unnecessary.
For more information, watch the VA videos Diabetes is a Disease of Numbers and Healthcare Teams Helping Veterans Understand Diabetes Numbers.
Parish adds that receiving health care from VA “lead me to become a better person and, finally, I feel great!”