Family and medical history can also affect a person's risk for diabetes.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, with World Diabetes Day observed on Nov. 14. Although diabetes is a national health issue, it’s particularly acute in Louisiana.

Approximately one in eight Louisianians is living with diabetes, and it’s among the state’s leading causes of death. If not controlled, diabetes, which causes high blood sugar, can lead to eye, kidney or nerve damage, and it can raise a person’s risk for strokes or heart disease.

To help people delay or prevent the serious side effects of diabetes, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana reminds members to know their numbers and talk to their doctors about their blood sugar levels to find out if they’re at risk. Family and medical history can also affect a person’s risk for diabetes.

“If you are one of the many people in our state who have diabetes, you’re not in this alone,” said Vindell Washington, M.D., Blue Cross chief medical officer. “Our in-house care team offers many programs and services to support members with diabetes in sticking to their doctors’ treatment plans and getting as healthy as possible. There’s no cost to our members to work with the Blue Cross care team.”

Visit for more information on how to connect with a Blue Cross health coach or sign up for programs and services.

Dr. Washington talks about diabetes and the importance of knowing your numbers in this video.

Contributed by Blue Cross