Health awareness

Education is Key to Managing Highs and Lows of Diabetes

Humana member Barry stands with health educator Salae at Humana Neighborhood Center

“This was a major lifestyle change for me, but it’s been worth it,” said Barry, 67, Humana member from Knoxville, Tenn. “I’ve lost weight and I feel better every day. I’ve joined a softball team this year and I’m faster than ever.”

Barry has lived with diabetes for over 15 years. In the United States, 37.3 million people have diabetes, and an additional 26.4 million people aged 65 years or older have prediabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease and significantly increases risk of heart attack or stroke.

High blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels is a hallmark of diabetes. For people living with diabetes, it is important to maintain healthy blood sugar levels through nutrition, physical activity, weight management, lifestyle choices and medication, when appropriate.

The hemoglobin A1c blood test measures an average of how high blood sugar levels have been over the past 3 months. When Barry’s A1c level was elevated above recommended levels at 8.5 percent, Barry’s doctor told him that his disease was out of control and that he needed to make some changes. Over time, higher blood sugar levels may lead to complications such as nerve damage and vision loss.

After Barry became a Humana member, he learned about diabetes education classes available at his local Humana Neighborhood Center. Each class focuses on a new topic—from strategies to help control blood glucose to decoding food labels and recipe makeovers. Eager to learn more, Barry and his wife signed up for classes.

“I am grateful. Humana has been very helpful in helping me to improve my health,” said Barry. “I love the educational sessions, mainly the series classes. The friendly, informative staff and educational sessions and the information taught is current. The information helps me improve my physical and mental conditions.”

Barry learned about ways he could manage his diabetes and with his doctor’s advice went on a low-carbohydrate diet and started being physically active. In about 3 months, Barry lost around 7 pounds and brought his A1c level down to 6.5 percent. Barry believes that the classes helped him make a breakthrough in his diabetes management.

“Since the classes, Barry has been maintaining his diabetes through diet and exercise,” said Salae Maxwell, Humana Health Educator. “When people share how much better they feel after implementing a fitness routine or learning how to manage a health condition, I get to celebrate their win with them.”

Barry also appreciates the personal attention he receives at the Center. “Humana has helped me streamline my medications through the pharmacy and this has made the recording and delivery process easier. They have also introduced me to ways I can better afford my medicines—some even being free, if I qualify.”

“I love that Humana gives me the chance to help people become healthier,” said Salae, “and this in turn makes them happier and could even potentially prolong their life or get to enjoy more of the activities they love.”


Looking for more information on managing diabetes for yourself or someone you love? Check out the on-demand Virtual Neighborhood Center class, Diabetes: Managing the Highs and Lows. Visit a Humana Neighborhood Center in-person or online to participate in educational events, programs and activities designed to help with physical and mental health.

Your results may vary. It may not be typical to improve health conditions by taking the actions Barry did. Consult your doctor before beginning any new diet or exercise regimen.