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Managing Diabetes for a Long, Happy Life

By Justin Ceravolo, PharmD

November is National Diabetes Month – a time where many different groups around the country highlight the importance of proper diabetes management. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 100 million people in the United States are living with diabetes or prediabetes.

Every day, your body breaks down sugar and starches into simple sugars known as glucose, which the body uses as energy. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, is used to move the glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body to use for energy. Diabetes is a chronic and incurable condition that causes hyperglycemia, or excessive blood sugar, as a result of the body’s inability to use blood glucose for energy. Pre-diabetes is a reversible condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis.

Managing diabetes
Studies show that with proper management, people with diabetes can enjoy long, happy, and relatively healthy lives. If you or a loved one are managing diabetes, and aim for increased longevity, it is important to consider a few lifestyle changes:

Eat well
• Create a diabetes meal plan with help from a healthcare professional.
• Choose foods lower in calories, saturated fat, trans-fat, sugar and salt.
• Get more fiber through whole grains.
• Opt for fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products.
• Drink water instead of juice or soda.
• Portion meals wisely – fill half a plate with fruits/vegetables, one quarter with lean protein (beans/skinless chicken), and one quarter with whole grains (brown rice/whole wheat pasta).

Stay active
• Exercise for thirty minutes, five days a week. Consider three 10-minute walks a day.
• Twice a week incorporate muscle strengthening activities. Stretch bands, yoga, or digging in the garden are great starts.
• Maintain healthy bodyweight by sticking to meal plan and activity goals.

Check blood sugars and take medication
• Learn how and when to test blood sugars, to help best manage diabetes.
• Note blood sugar number changes and report those findings during doctor visits.
• Take medication as directed, even when you’re feeling great.

Preventative care
Losing weight, maintaining a healthy body weight, making healthy dietary choices, opting for smaller portions and staying physically active can also help those with pre-diabetes prevent the onset of diabetes.

Monitoring diabetes
Closely tracking blood sugar numbers is paramount to good diabetes management. Uncontrolled blood sugars over time often lead to serious complications, such as cardiovascular disease, nerve/kidney/
eye/foot damage, Alzheimer’s and depression. Blood sugar number dips and spikes help healthcare professionals determine when medication changes are needed to keep diabetes in check. That’s where Cypress Pharmacy can help.

In-store glucose and cholesterol testing
Cypress Pharmacy now offers convenient, in-store cholesterol and glucose screenings. Thanks to the PTS Diagnostics’ CardioCheck Plus analyzer, pharmacists use the same technology available in clinical laboratories and provide patients with accurate onsite results in 90 seconds. Through this streamlined process, pharmacists use the same finger prick blood sample to complete both tests. As glucose and cholesterol tests require 9-12 hours fasting prior to testing, and for the most accurate readings, some patients may need to return the following day to complete the screening. This combined cholesterol and glucose screening costs just $40.

Cypress Pharmacy is a compounding pharmacy that has been providing pharmaceutical and healthcare services in Fort Myers for more than 40 years. The entire staff, including pharmacists T.J. DePaola and Justin Ceravolo, are dedicated to providing the best possible service to every customer. For more information, call 239-481-7322 or visit

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