About thirteen million people with Medicare have Type 2 diabetes, a chronic condition in which our bodies are not able to control the amount of sugar in our blood, and we end up with high blood sugar. The incidence of diabetes is rising rapidly, and it is costly to treat. More than 30 percent of Medicare spending is for the 27 percent of people with Medicare who have either type 1 or 2 diabetes.
With diabetes, our pancreas does not produce enough insulin—a hormone which regulates our blood sugar—and/or our body resists the insulin we produce. As a result, we are unable to move our blood sugar into muscle or fa t cells where it will be burned or stored for energy.
Symptoms for Type 2 diabetes range from blurry vision, thirst, hunger and fatigue to weight loss. But the disease develops over time and some people experience no symptoms. If you think you might have diabetes, get a screening. Medicare covers diabetes screenings, along with a range of other services for people with diabetes.
Over time, people with diabetes can experience kidney problems, nerve damage, weakened immune systems, increased chance of stroke and heart attack, sores and infections and vision problems. But, people who are able to control their blood sugar, cholesterol levels and blood pressure can limit the likelihood of these symptoms.
Type 2 diabetes is particularly common in people who are overweight. And, it can sometimes be reversed with exercise, healthy eating, and weight loss. Keep in mind that Medicare covers the full cost of weight loss counseling.