WOONSOCKET, R.I., May 11 Nearly 24 million Americans - about one out of every 10 adults over the age of 20 - have diabetes(1). For those with the disease, keeping it in control is a lifelong challenge that requires the support of a knowledgeable healthcare team to advise on proper care, medication management, and the importance of healthy diet and exercise.
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Ninety percent of Type 2 diabetes sufferers are considered overweight(2), and because of this close link between diabetes and obesity, CVS/pharmacy is partnering with Dr. Ian Smith and the 50 Million Pound Challenge to help patients with diabetes gain better control of their disease. The partnership is part of a broader effort by CVS/pharmacy to support diabetes patients.
"Weight management is one important step in managing diabetes, and for those who have pre-diabetes, it can prevent further progress of the disease," said Dr. Smith. "If you're overweight, losing just five to ten percent of your body weight will improve diabetes control."
Monitoring Glucose Levels as a Measure of Control
Diabetes control is measured by blood glucose levels. In addition to daily self-testing to determine glucose levels, a quarterly A1C test is recommended to ascertain average glucose levels for the past two to three months. For people with diabetes, the American Diabetes Association measures control as A1C levels of less than seven percent.
To help patients monitor blood glucose levels in a manner that is convenient and reliable MinuteClinic healthcare centers within select CVS/pharmacy locations will administer free A1C tests, sponsored by Bayer Diabetes Care, now through June 12th. MinuteClinic recently introduced condition monitoring services for patients with diabetes and other conditions.
"Consistent monitoring is critical for diabetes patients, particularly for those who have related health issues like elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure," said Dr. Troyen A. Brennan, Chief Medical Officer for CVS Caremark. "Regular screenings are an important way to assess control of these conditions."
Helping to Manage Costs
Patients with diabetes, who often have additional health complications that require treatment, incur medical expenses almost two and a half times greater than the average for a non-diabetic. As a way to help lower diabetes care costs for patients and caregivers, CVS/pharmacy has launched the ExtraCare Advantage for Diabetes program that offers members discounts and rewards on the purchase of diabetes supplies.
CVS pharmacists are also available to counsel patients on ways to lower medication costs, such as switching to generics from brand-name medications. And, because of the high prevalence of related conditions, diabetes patients are often taking multiple medications. The pharmacist can play an additional role in helping patients manage their medications by counseling on side-effects, dosage timing and interactions in efforts to improve adherence.
"Diabetes is a manageable health condition and you can live a very full life despite the diagnosis," said Dr. Smith. "By working with your entire healthcare team to lower your glucose levels, managing weight through proper diet and exercise and taking medications properly, you can get your diabetes in control."
Patients can learn more about ways to manage their diabetes at www.cvs.com/diabetes and receive diabetes-related health and weight loss information at www.50millionpounds.com.
CVS/pharmacy is the retail division of CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS). The Company operates more than 7,000 CVS/pharmacy and Longs Drugs stores. CVS/pharmacy is committed to improving the lives of those we serve by making innovative and high-quality health and pharmacy services safe, affordable and easy to access, both in its stores and online at CVS.com. General information about CVS/pharmacy and CVS Caremark is available at http://www.info.cvscaremark.com/.
About The 50 Million Pound Challenge
Dr. Ian Smith's 50 Million Pound Challenge is a call-to-action for all Americans to come together and help people take control of their health by getting fit, losing excess weight and turning back the deadly toll of weight-related diseases that threaten nearly half of us. The Challenge is a campaign supported and endorsed by leaders across the community and national civic and health organizations.
About Dr. Ian Smith
Dr. Ian is a diet expert on VH1's Celebrity Fit Club and author of the New York Times #1 best-sellers 4 Day Diet, Fat Smash Diet and Extreme Fat Smash Diet, and HAPPY: Simple Steps to Get the Most Out of Life, as well as other works of fiction and non-fiction. He hosts his own TV and radio shows, BET's Meet the Faith and HealthWatch on American Urban Radio Network. Dr. Ian is a contributor to The View and Men's Health Magazine. He has filed reports and written for NBC Nightly News, Today Show, Essence, Ebony, People, Cosmopolitan and University of Chicago's Medicine on the Midway.
(1) American Diabetes Association, 2007 National Diabetes Fact Sheet
(2) World Health Organization