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Diabetes Care at UPMC

Getting the right diabetes care is key to staying healthy.

At UPMC, our endocrinologists use the latest techniques to manage diabetes, including continuous glucose monitoring (GCM) and insulin pump therapy.

From diagnosis to management, you can trust us to provide the top-notch diabetes care and ongoing support you need.

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease where your blood sugar is too high. It affects how your body uses food energy.

Diabetes occurs when the pancreas doesn't make enough insulin, or your body can't use it the right way.

There are a few types of diabetes:

How common is diabetes?

In the U.S.:

  • More than 34 million people have some form of diabetes.
  • About 88 million people have prediabetes — yet 90% don't know they have it.
  • There are more than 1.5 million new cases of diabetes diagnosed each year.

Can I Live a Normal Life With Diabetes?

Yes! You can live a normal life with diabetes.

For most people with diabetes (PWD), their quality of life depends on how:

  • Much they know about their disease.
  • Well they use this knowledge to manage it.

That's why UPMC offers diabetes care along with diabetes education and support programs.

We're nationally recognized by the American Diabetes Association® (ADA) for diabetes self-management education. Our diabetes educators and dietitians will give you the skills and knowledge tailored to meet your unique needs.

We also work with your PCP and endocrine doctor to help you manage your diabetes.

Keep Your Blood Glucose Levels in Check

Good control of diabetes means keeping your blood sugar at certain levels, based on ADA guidelines. For most PWD, this is 70 to 130 (mg/dl) before meals, and no higher than 180 after meals.

Talk to your diabetes provider about the best blood glucose target range for you.

Staying in your target range will reduce your chance of getting diabetes-related complications.

What is the A1C test?

The A1C test measures the amount of hemoglobin with glucose attached. The results show your average blood glucose level over the past three months.

Normal blood sugar is less than 5.7%. For most PWD, their A1C goal should be is less than 7%.

Goals may vary from person to person. Talk to your diabetes provider or educator about what A1C goal is best for you.

Follow Your Personal Diabetes Plan

To work toward good control of your blood glucose, you need a plan.

Your UPMC care team will create a unique plan to help you manage your diabetes.

Eat healthy

A healthy diet has many pros, including blood glucose control and weight loss.

Losing small amounts of weight can have a big impact on your health. It can also improve your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.

Your diabetes educator or dietitian can help you create a meal plan that tells you:

  • When to eat.
  • How much to eat.
  • What kinds of food to eat for meals and snacks.

Get moving

For most PWD, being active is key. It helps your body use glucose better and, as a result, your blood glucose levels will go down.

A physical activity plan can be as simple as taking a walk each day.

Before you start any exercise program, talk to your doctor.

Take your medicine

The two main kinds of diabetes medicines are insulin and non-insulin agents.

  • If you have T1D, you must take insulin by injection.
  • If you have T2D, you may be able to start with healthy eating and physical activity.
  • Most PWD also need non-insulin medication, either by mouth or shot, to keep their blood glucose in a good range. And some may need to take insulin. Your diabetes provider will help you decide which plan is best for you.

Keep track of your blood glucose

It's vital to routinely check your blood glucose levels by:

  • Pricking your finger and using a meter to measure the amount of glucose in a drop of blood.
  • Getting a GCM device. A sensor under the skin measures your glucose levels every few minutes, 24/7.

Keeping track of your glucose readings tells you how physical activity, food, medicine, and stress affect you.

Find ways to ease stress

Coping with a chronic disease like diabetes is tough and often causes stress.

Some techniques to help you relax may include:

  • Taking a walk or working out.
  • Listening to soft music.
  • Making time for yourself.
  • Reading a book.
  • Talking through a problem with a friend, family member, or health care provider.

Your UPMC Diabetes Care Team

Your team of experts can help support you as you manage your diabetes on a daily basis.

Your team may include:

  • Behavioral health experts.
  • Diabetes educators.
  • Dietitians.
  • Exercise physiologists.
  • Eye care providers.
  • Foot doctors.
  • Nurses.
  • Pharmacists.
  • Primary care providers.

Make an Appointment at UPMC for Diabetes Treatment

Contact us to make an appointment or learn more about our full range of expert care.

Find a UPMC endocrinology location near you.