Managing Diabetes

WHA's diabetes program

WHA members have access to a diabetes program provided through Optum™ and is designed to help manage your condition. If you are at low risk for complications, you will be enrolled in the program and receive educational materials. If you are at high risk, you will receive educational materials and regularly scheduled calls with a diabetes nurse care manager. The care manager will help you navigate through the various services provided by the program and act as coach and educator - all at no cost to you.

You can apply to participate in the program by completing the disease management referral form or contacting Optum at 877.793.3655. You can also "opt out" of the program at any time by calling Optum directly.

fruit and vegetables next to blood sugar chart

Take Charge of Your Health

Diabetes is a condition that requires constant monitoring and mindfulness, which can present challenges in today’s busy lifestyles. Most experts will agree that there are core health practices that are essential to managing diabetes: blood glucose control, medication management, exercise, nutrition and support.

WHA’s mission is to provide you with information that will help make choices that ultimately result in healthier outcomes—because healthier outcomes can mean improved quality of life and longevity. And that is what we want for you and your family.

Introducing Virta Health 

Western Health Advantage and Virta Health are teaming up to offer an innovative, nutritional treatment program that reverses type 2 diabetes, without the risks, costs or side effects of medications or surgery. Learn more about Virta Health's Type 2 diabetes reversal program.

To support our members, WHA invites you to hear how this new approach to reversing diabetes works in a free webinar on March 18, 2021 at 10 a.m. Visit Virta Health site to register for this free webinar.

Get your dilated retinal test and we'll send you a
$25 gift card!*

To show our appreciation for completing your dilated retinal test, we'll send you $25 gift card.* Simply complete the online form.

For CalPERS members please click here.
*To qualify, participants must be active members between 18-75 years of age and living with diabetes. The exam must have been completed within the last year. Limited to one gift card (up to $25 value) per year.

New from Optum: Free Blood Sugar Monitor Offer

Available to WHA members who want to monitor blood sugar levels, Optum is offering a no-cost blood sugar meter.

1) Talk to your doctor or diabetes educator. They will help you select the meter that’s right for you. Optum has two models available.
2) Order a OneTouch® meters by calling 1-866-355-9962; or email You can enter a brochure code (Order Code: 594PRX100).
For more information, see our flyer for details on ordering and the models available.

Why it's important to get your feet checked

Your doctor will want to check your feet at least annually to detect any signs of trouble with circulation, nerve damage or the overall condition of your feet. Smoking and high blood sugar levels can significantly affect the health of your feet.

Check them daily and make sure after you shower or bathe to dry your feet thoroughly, especially in-between the toes, to avoid skin breakdowns and infections. Avoid putting lotion between the toes and wear well-fitting protective shoes. Remember to break in new shoes gradually to avoid blisters and other injuries.

Get more information about foot care.

What's a safe level for your A1c blood sugar

The A1c is a non-fasting blood test that tells your doctor how well your blood sugar is being controlled (on average) over a 2– to 3–month period. Generally, an A1c less than (<) 7% is preferred; however, this can vary if you have other conditions. Check with your doctor about the level that is right for your individual health needs.

An A1c test is recommended up to four times a year. Your doctor will determine how often you need to have an A1c based on your individual health needs.

Learn more about other all-important tests.

Smoking and diabetes

Stopping the cigarette habit greatly improves your risk factors. Smoking decreases the amount of oxygen reaching tissues that can damage small blood vessels, particularly in the hands, feet, kidneys and eyes. Smoking cessation classes can help you get on the right path. Visit to find a class near you.

Learn more about smoking and diabetes.

What's the best blood pressure reading for me?

Experts have found that high blood pressure and diabetes–the “dastardly duo”–seem to go hand-in-hand. For most people living with diabetes, the general goal is to keep your blood pressure less than 140/90. However, maintaining a blood pressure level that fits with your personal health may not be the same for someone else. Your doctor will work with you to help you maintain the blood pressure level that fits with your personal health needs.

Get tips on how to reduce your blood pressure.

How to keep your kidneys in good health

Kidneys are remarkable organs that remove waste products from the blood system. Diabetes can damage the kidneys and cause them to lose the ability to filter out waste products; which can result in kidney disease and kidney (renal) failure. Keeping your diabetes and blood pressure under control lowers the risk of kidney disease. A urine test know as albuminuria checks how well your kidneys are functioning and should be done once a year.

American Diabetes Association

If not managed well, diabetes can affect any part on your body. WHA is dedicated to educating members about the importance of preventive care and health screenings, discussing the risks associated with diabetes with your doctor and educating members about how to prevent complications from the disease. To learn more about diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association website.

Last review date: October 18, 2019

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