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Manage your condition

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If you have a long-term health issue, you don’t have to go through it alone. Healthy Blue’s Disease Management (DM) program gives you a choice and a voice in how to care for your health. DM case managers are registered nurses. With their help, you will learn to better manage your condition and improve your quality of life.

We’re here to help

How it works

DM case managers work with you by phone to create health goals and develop a plan to reach them. They educate you about your condition and help you take more control of your care.  The program is voluntary, private and at no cost to you.

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Who’s eligible?

You may be eligible for the DM program if you are living with:

  • A behavioral health condition such as major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or substance use disorder.
  • A heart condition, including congestive heart failure (CHF), coronary artery disease (CAD) or hypertension, also called high blood pressure.
  • Diabetes.
  • HIV/AIDS.
  • A lung condition like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Our case managers also assist with weight management and smoking cessation education. 

What are the benefits?

As part of the DM program, you will get:

  • A case manager who will work with you one-on-one to help you manage your health.
  • Help to make sure you have the health equipment you need.
  • Information on the most up-to-date treatment for your condition.
  • Any recommended screenings for other conditions.
  • Care coordination between your primary care physician (PCP) and any specialists.
  • Contact information for local caregivers.

To serve you better, we also:

  • Monitor your progress with any health condition you are being treated for.
  • Give your doctors information on the latest treatment options for your condition.
  • Give you and your doctor updates on your health.
  • Ask you about how we can help you.
  • Ask you for your ideas for making the program even better.

How to participate

There are two ways you can get started in the DM program.

  • Call 1-888-830-4300 (TTY 711) and an experienced DM representative will be happy to help you. You will be asked some questions about your health to help get you started.
  • Send an email to dmself-referral@bluechoicesc.com. Please include the condition or conditions for which you would like case management services.

Helpful resources

  • Call your case manager at 1-888-830-4300 (TTY 711), Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. You can leave a private message 24 hours a day.
  • For routine health questions, call your primary care provider (PCP).
  • For questions about your health, call the 24-Hour Nurseline at 1-866-577-9710 (TTY 1-800-368-4424).

In the event of an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Your rights and responsibilities

As a member enrolled in the DM program, you have certain rights and responsibilities.
You have the right to:
•    Get details about us, including: 

o    Programs and services we provide.
o    Our staff and their qualifications.
o    Any contractual relationships. 

•    Opt out of DM services. 
•    Know which case manager is handling your disease management services, as well as how to ask for a change. 
•    Get support from us to make health care choices with your providers. 
•    Be told about all disease management-related treatment options mentioned in clinical guidelines (even if a treatment is not covered), and to discuss options with treating providers. 
•    Have personal data and medical information kept private.
•    Know who has access to your information and know our procedures used to ensure security, privacy, and confidentiality. 
•    Be treated politely and with respect by our staff.
•    File complaints to Healthy Blue, and receive guidance on how to use the complaint process as well as know our standards of timeliness for responding to and resolving issues of quality and complaints.
•    Receive information that is clear and easy to understand.

You also have a responsibility to:
•    Follow the plan of care you and your case manager agree on.
•    Provide us with information needed to carry out our services.
•    Tell us and your provider if you decide to leave the program.
For a written version of your DM Rights and Responsibilities or information on this website, please print this page or call your case manager at 1-888-830-4300 (TTY 711).

DM does not market products or services from outside companies to our members. We do not own or profit from outside companies on the goods and services we offer.

Care management programs 

Healthy Blue has care management programs for bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, substance use disorder, diabetes, congestive heart failure (CHF), coronary artery disease (CAD), hypertension (high blood pressure), HIV/AIDS, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 

Your case manager can help you learn how to better understand and manage your condition. We can help you set health goals and create a care plan that fits your lifestyle. If you like, we will keep your doctor informed of your condition and the services we provide you.

You do not have to join these programs. You are automatically enrolled as a Healthy Blue member, unless you opt out of the program.
 

Behavioral health

Healthy Blue can help you with your condition. Services include:

  • One-on-one help with depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or substance use disorder
  • Treatment from a licensed behavioral health caregiver 
  • Specialist referrals, if needed 
  • Information about resources in your area 
  • Phone calls to you and your doctors to track your progress

If you have questions or would like more information about your behavioral health benefits, call the Customer Care Center at 1-866-781-5094 (TTY 1-866-773-9634).

 

More behavioral health resources

Bipolar disorder

Living with bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder, or manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder. People who have bipolar disorder may have shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels, and be unable to carry out day-to-day tasks. A person with bipolar disorder may go from having long periods of feeling “high” or overly happy to long periods of feeling “down,” worried or hopeless, and then start over again. The “high” feeling is called mania. The “down” feeling is called depression. These feelings may make it hard to concentrate and keep close contact with friends and family.

  • The cause of bipolar disorder is not known.
  • One possible cause is an imbalance of chemicals in the brain.
  • Symptoms of bipolar disorder may vary.
  • In a manic episode, you may feel very happy and have a lot of energy, or you may feel like you do not need very much sleep. You may do things that are risky or dangerous. You may have other symptoms.
  • After a manic episode, you may start to feel more like yourself, or you may start feeling depressed.
  • In a depressive episode, you may have trouble thinking or making decisions. You may lose interest in things you have done in the past. You may even have thoughts about hurting yourself. You may have other symptoms.
  • The mood swings of bipolar disorder can be mild or severe.
  • The important thing to know about bipolar disorder is that it can be treated. 
  • We can share more information to help you with bipolar disorder.

Right now, there is no cure for bipolar disorder. Treatment can help control symptoms and improve your quality of life.

  • The first step to treating bipolar disorder is to see a health care provider.
  • People with bipolar disorder may have other health conditions. Be sure to talk with your doctor about all your health conditions.
  • Different types of medicine can help. People respond to medicines in different ways. Sometimes you may need to try different medicines to see which one works best for you.
  • Psychotherapy or talk therapy can help. Therapy can help you change your behavior and manage your life. It can help you get along better with your family and friends.
  • Talk to your doctor about other treatment for your bipolar disorder.

Major depressive disorder

Living with depression

Everyone feels blue or sad some of the time, but these feelings don’t last very long. Most times, they go away in a few days. When a person has depression, it can get in the way of everyday life.

  • There are many causes of depression.
  • Sometimes people have depression for no reason at all.
  • Common symptoms of depression include sadness, anxious feelings that don’t go away, feelings of hopelessness, guilt or helplessness, trouble concentrating, and even thoughts of suicide.
  • The important thing to know about depression is that depression can be treated.
  • Your doctor may do lab tests to see how well your medication is working.
  • We can share more information to help you manage your depression.
  • The first step to treating depression is to see a health care provider.
  • People with depression may have other health conditions. Be sure to talk with your doctor about all of your health conditions. If no physical cause for depression is found, your doctor may do a screening for depression.
  • A social worker, psychologist or a psychiatrist can also screen for depression.
  • During your visit, be sure to write down your diagnosis. List all prescribed treatments and medications.
  • Treatment for depression is different for each person. Treatment often includes medication and some kind of talk therapy or counseling.
  • If you are taking antidepressant medications, do not drive until you know how your medication is going to make you feel.
  • Some common side effects are dry mouth, dizziness, headache, nausea and blurred vision. You may have other side effects.
  • People have different responses to medications. Talk to your doctor before taking new medications. These include medications that do not need a prescription.
  • Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about your medications. Your doctor can help find a medication that has the fewest side effects and will work for you.
  • Medication for depression only works if taken daily as a doctor orders. It can take weeks for these types of medications to take effect.
  • It is very important to take the medication, even if you are feeling better.
  • Always follow your doctor’s advice about how much medication to take and how often to take it.
  • Talk with your doctor before stopping medications.
  • We can teach you how to take your medications correctly.
  • We can help you understand how your medications work.

Family and friends play an important part in helping a person who has depression. They will need to know as much as possible about depression. Family and friends also can help you take your medications correctly.

To help someone with depression, a friend or relative can:

  • Offer support and understanding about the depression.
  • Encourage the person to stay in treatment.
  • Talk with the person and listen to what he or she has to say.
  • Never ignore comments about suicide and let the person’s therapist or doctor know right away.
  • Invite the person out for walks, outings and other activities. Keep trying if they say no. But don't push them to take on too much too soon.
  • Remind the person that, with time and treatment, the depression will lift.
  • Attend counseling together with the patient.

If you are depressed, remember these feelings are part of your condition. Here are a few things you can do to help with your treatment:

  • Talk to your doctor about your treatment. Keep a daily diary. It can help remind you of the changes you have made.
  • Do mild activity or exercise. Go to a movie, a ballgame, or another event or activity that you once enjoyed. Take part in religious, social or other activities.
  • Set goals for yourself that are reachable.
  • Break up large tasks into small ones. Set some priorities and do what you can as you can.
  • Try to spend time with other people. Talk to a trusted friend or relative. Try not to be alone. Let others help you.
  • Your mood should improve over time, not right away. Do not expect to feel better right away.
  • Wait to make big decisions like getting married, divorced or changing jobs until you feel better.
  • Remember that positive thinking will replace negative thoughts as you respond to treatment.
  • Keep a daily routine. Eat a healthy diet and sleep at regular times. Make sure you get enough sleep.
  • We can help you talk to your family or caregiver about your depression.
  • We can help you find community programs and resources in your area.
  • Tips to talk with your doctor and get the most out of your visit:
  • Ask any questions you may have about your depression. You can write them down and take them with you to your visit.
  • Follow your doctor’s advice — if you have questions or concerns, let your doctor know.
  • Make sure your doctor knows what medicines you are taking.
  • Other health conditions
  • Preventive care screenings, such as wellness checkups, mammograms and Pap tests

Get help right away! To talk to a trained counselor, you can call the toll-free, 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) (TTY 1-800-799-4889)

Friends or family should call the treating psychiatrist or therapist or 911 if a person with depression talks about or tries suicide.

These links lead to third party sites. These companies are solely responsible for the contents and privacy policies on their sites.

Schizophrenia

Living with schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a disorder of the brain. When a person has schizophrenia, it gets in the way of daily life. 

  • Doctors do not know the causes of schizophrenia.
  • The first signs of the disorder may show up between the late teens and early 30s.
  • Here are some common symptoms you may have:
    • Hearing or seeing things that aren’t there
    • Thinking other people can read your mind or control your thoughts
    • Believing others want to hurt you
    • Not knowing what is real or not real    
    • Finding it hard to take care of yourself
  • We can give you more information to help you manage your schizophrenia.

There are many treatments that can help manage schizophrenia and reduce symptoms. They often include medication and some type of life skills or psychosocial therapy. This may help you in:

  • Being able to work.
  • Doing everyday things.
  • Getting along better with family and friends.

Medications can greatly improve the lives of many people with the disorder. They can help decrease the symptoms of schizophrenia so that you:

  • Know what is real and not real.
  • Are able to take better care of yourself.
  • Get along better with family and friends.

Psychosocial treatments are another way of treating schizophrenia. You should first be stable on your medications for this treatment to work best. These treatments can help you deal with common symptoms of the disorder. Psychosocial treatments include:

Rehabilitation — These programs use social and work training to help you function better. Rehabilitation programs also include work counseling, money management, and how to talk to people, such as employers.

Family education — Family is often very involved in supporting a relative who has schizophrenia. It is very important that family members know as much as possible about the disorder. This helps them watch for warning signs to help prevent episodes. They also can help and assist you in taking your medications properly.

Behavioral therapy — The therapist can teach you how to test if what you are thinking is real or not real. You can learn not to listen to your voices. You may also learn coping skills to help you manage your daily activities.

Supportive therapy — A good relationship with a therapist or case manager can help you adjust to your illness. They can help with proper use of medications.

  • If you are taking schizophrenia medications, do not drive until you know how your medication is going to make you feel.
  • Some common side effects are restlessness, weight gain, muscle spasms and changes in your heart rate. You may have other side effects.
  • People don’t respond the same way to the same medications. Talk to your doctor before taking new medications. These include ones that don’t need a prescription.
  • Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about your medications. Your doctor can help find a medication that has the fewest side effects and will work for you.
  • Your medication only works if taken daily as a doctor orders. It is very important to take your medication, even when you are feeling better. Always follow your doctor’s advice about how much medication to take and how often to take it.
  • Talk with your doctor before stopping any medications.
  • We can help you know how to take your medications the right way.
  • We can help you understand how your medications work.
     
  • Keep your appointments with your doctor and other health care providers.
  • Take your medications as prescribed.
  • Set reachable goals for yourself.
  • Expect treatment to improve symptoms slowly, not all at once.
  • Spend time with other people so you’re not on your own. Try to share what you are going through with a trusted friend or relative.
  • Let others help you.
     
  • We can help you talk to your family or caregiver about your schizophrenia.
  • We can help you find neighborhood programs and resources.
  • Tips to talk with your doctor and get the most out of your visit:
    • Ask any questions you may have about your treatment. You can write them down and take them with you to your visit.
    • Follow your doctor’s advice — if you have questions or concerns, let your doctor know.
    • Make sure your doctor knows what medicines you are taking.
  • Depression
  • Other health conditions
  • Preventive care screenings, such as wellness checkups, mammograms and Pap tests

Get help right away! To talk to a trained counselor, you can call the toll-free, 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) (TTY 1-800-799-4889).

Friends or family should call the treating psychiatrist or therapist or 911 if a person with schizophrenia talks about or tries suicide.

These links lead to third party sites. These companies are solely responsible for the contents and privacy policies on their sites.

Substance use disorder

Living with substance use disorder

Substance use disorder is using drugs or alcohol in a way that causes harm to yourself or others. We want you to know you can take control. If you like, we will keep your doctor informed of your condition and the services we provide you. Your care manager can help you learn how to better manage your substance use disorder.

  • Your brain will change after using drugs or alcohol over time. You may start to have cravings for the drug or alcohol.
  • Common results of abuse or dependence can include missing work or school often and neglecting family or children.
  • Some other outcomes are legal problems, auto accidents or suspension of your driver’s license, needing more and more of the substance, withdrawal symptoms, large amounts of time spent getting and using the drug, and loss of friendships, as well as physical and psychological harm.
  • The first step to treating substance use disorder is to see a health care provider.
  • People with substance use disorder may have other health conditions. Make sure to talk with your doctor about all your health conditions.
  • A combination of treatments is usually most helpful in treating substance use disorder. Some of the treatments are psychosocial or talk therapy, medication therapy, and community-based support.
  • Talk to your doctor about other treatment for your substance use disorder.

You can help yourself by getting treatment and sticking with it. It takes time, but treatment is the best way to take care of substance use disorder. Here are a few things you can do to help with your treatment:

  • Talk to your doctor about your treatment.
  • Don’t take any new drugs, even over-the-counter drugs, until you check with your doctor first.
  • Set goals for yourself that are reachable.
  • Stay in treatment.
  • Keep a daily routine by eating a healthy diet and sleeping at regular times.
  • We can help you talk to your family or caregiver about your substance use disorder.
  • We can assist you in finding community programs and resources in your area.
  • Tips to talk with your doctor and get the most out of your visit:
    • Ask any questions you may have about your substance use disorder. You can write them down and take them with you to your visit.
    • Follow your doctor’s advice. If you have questions or concerns, let your doctor know.
    • Make sure your doctor knows what medicines you are taking.

Family and friends play an important part in helping a person who has substance use disorder. They will need to know as much as possible about the disorder. Family and friends also can help you stay in treatment. To help someone with substance use disorder, a friend or relative can:

  • Encourage the person to stay in treatment.
  • Talk with the person and listen to what they have to say.
  • Include the person in fun activities.
  • Remind the person that getting better is possible with the right treatment.
  • Never ignore comments about suicide and let the person’s therapist or doctor know right away.
  • Attend counseling together with the patient.
  • Depression
  • Other health conditions
  • Preventive care screenings, such as wellness checkups, mammograms and Pap tests
  • Assessments related to alcohol or substance use that consist of a few simple questions you can complete in private with your primary care provider or specialist

Get help right away! To talk to a trained counselor, you can call the toll-free, 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) (TTY 1-800-799-4889).

Friends or family should call the treating psychiatrist or therapist or 911 if a person talks about or tries suicide.

These links lead to third party sites. These companies are solely responsible for the contents and privacy policies on their sites.

Diabetes

With the diabetes case management program, your case manager can help you:

  • Set up a doctor’s appointment.
  • Identify health goals and create a care plan.
  • Obtain and use a glucometer.
  • Find information about diabetes education programs in your area.
  • Arrange for transportation or other special needs.
  • Learn about diabetes.

If you’re living with diabetes, you’re not alone. We want you to know you can take control. We know you want to have more energy, lower your risk of complications and improve your quality of life. Whatever your goals, making small changes can help you achieve them.

Diabetes is a disease. It occurs when the body does not make or use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that changes glucose, starches and other foods into energy needed for daily life. Blood glucose is another term for blood sugar.

Things to know:

  • Insulin changes sugar into energy
  • Blood glucose = blood sugar

The exact cause of diabetes is unknown. However, studies show that both family history and lifestyle contribute to diabetes. Diabetes can occur in people of all ages and races. There is more than one type of diabetes. Diabetes can affect your body from head to toe. That is why it is so important to learn how to manage your diabetes.

If you have to use insulin, your doctor will show you how and where to give yourself a shot. Common sites to inject insulin include:

  • Stomach
  • Arms
  • Thighs

It is important to change the site where you give yourself insulin each day. This helps prevent changes to your skin such as lumps or swollen areas.

Glucometers and supplies

Whether or not you take diabetes pills, use insulin, or manage diabetes without medicine, you may still have to check your blood sugar. Your doctor will tell you how often. To do so, you will need a special machine. The hand-held machine used to check your blood sugar is called a glucometer. You will need other supplies, such as alcohol swabs (to clean your finger before poking), lancets (to poke your finger and draw a blood drop), and testing strips (to put the blood drop on and see your blood sugar results).

A network pharmacy can provide a glucometer. You must have a prescription from a health care provider. You will also need a prescription for the strips and lancets.

Member benefits and exclusions vary by health plan. If you have any problems and need help getting a meter, call the Healthy Blue Customer Care Center at 1-866-781-5094 (TTY 1-866-773-9634).

When there’s an emergency or natural disaster

An emergency or disaster, such as a power outage or hurricane, can happen with little or no warning. It is important for people with diabetes to be ready. One of the best ways to help yourself prepare is to create a disaster kit. It should include everything you need to take care of your diabetes, such as:

  • A blood glucose meter (glucometer), lancets and testing strips.
  • Your diabetes medicines.
  • A list of your prescription numbers.
  • If you take insulin, some insulin, syringes and an insulated bag to keep insulin cool.
  • A glucagon kit if you take insulin or if your doctor recommends it.
  • Glucose tablets and other foods or drinks to treat low blood sugar.
  • Antibiotic cream or ointment.
  • A copy of your medical information, including a list of your conditions, medicines and recent lab test results.
  • Phone numbers for the American Red Cross and other disaster relief organizations.

You also might want to include some food that won’t spoil, such as canned or dried food, along with bottled water. Check and update your kit at least twice a year.
 

Physical activity or exercise is anything that gets you moving. It includes things like:

  • Walking
  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Any activity that you enjoy in which you break a light sweat

There are many good reasons for people with diabetes to stay active. Daily exercise can help your body get stronger and help you sleep and feel better. It can also help lower your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol. These changes are heart healthy. Losing weight may also help lower the amount of insulin or diabetes pills you need to take.

Talk to your doctor

Talk to your health care team about which activities will be safe for you. Your doctor should weigh in before you begin any type of activity.

What’s stopping you?

Most people have at least one reason why they’re not more active. Perhaps you’ve never been very active. Maybe you’re afraid your blood sugar will drop. Think about what’s keeping you from being active. Then ask yourself what it would take to overcome it.

I don’t have time to exercise for 30 minutes a day.
Do as much as you can. Every step counts. If you are just starting out, begin with 10 minutes a day and add more little by little. Work up to 10 minutes at a time three times a day.

I'm too tired after work.
Plan to do something active before work or during the day.

I don’t have the right clothes.
Wear anything that's comfortable as long as you have shoes that fit well and socks that don't irritate your skin.

I’m too shy to exercise in a group.
Choose something you can do on your own, such as following along with an aerobics class on TV or going for a walk.

I don't want to have sore muscles.
Exercise shouldn't hurt if you go slowly at first. Choose something you can do without getting sore. Learn how to warm up and stretch before you start. Take time to cool down afterward.

I’m afraid I’ll get low blood sugar.
If you are taking a medication that could cause low blood sugar, talk to your doctor about ways to exercise safely.

Walking hurts my knees.
Try chair exercises or swimming.

It’s too hot outside.
If it's too hot, too cold or too humid, walk inside a shopping center.

It's not safe to walk in my neighborhood.
Find an indoor activity, such as an exercise class at a community center.

I’m afraid I’ll make my condition worse.
Get a checkup before planning your fitness routine. Learn what's safe for you to do.

I can't afford to join a fitness center or buy equipment.
Do something that doesn't require fancy equipment, such as walking or using cans of food for weight.

Exercise is boring.
Find something you enjoy doing. Try different activities on different days.

A diabetic diet is all about balance and the choices you make. It works best when you eat a variety of foods in the right portions and at the same times each day. It does not mean that you have to give up your favorite foods. Your food choices should come from three groups:

  • Carbohydrates: 45 to 65 percent of daily calories
  • Proteins: 15 to 20 percent of daily calories
  • Fats: 20 to 35 percent of daily calories

Eating the right foods can help keep your blood sugar in the normal range. That can give you energy to do the everyday things you enjoy. So, how can you help make sure you are getting enough of each type of food each day?

Imagine your plate divided into quarters. Use it to control your portions.

  • Fill 1/4 of your plate with carbohydrates, such as rice, whole grains, potatoes, pasta, corn and peas.
  • Fill 1/4 of your plate with lean protein, like meat, fish, poultry and tofu.
  • Fill 1/2 of your plate with non-starchy veggies like green, leafy vegetables, broccoli, tomatoes, cauliflower, cucumbers, carrots and salads.

Now that you have an idea about how to fill your plate, let’s look at some of your options in each group.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates such as fruits, whole grains and vegetables are vital parts of your diet. Many carbohydrates contain fiber to give you ongoing energy and a sense of feeling full. There are three main types of carbohydrates: starches, sugar and fiber. Finding a good balance between all three is the key. If you’re not careful, they are the foods most likely to drive up your blood sugar.

More than half of your daily diet should be filled with vegetables, whole grains and fruits.

It is best to eat sweets and snacks rarely. You can lessen the amount of other carbohydrates you eat on the days you want to splurge. Some good choices you can make to help meet your nutritional needs include:

  • Breads — whole grains are best 
  • Vegetables — from a rainbow of different colors
  • Fruits
  • Brown rice or whole wheat pasta
  • Beans and legumes
  • Raw nuts and seeds
  • Low-fat dairy products

Small doable steps

  • Substitute breads and pasta made with white flour with those made of whole wheat and whole grains
  • Substitute a cup of orange juice with a piece of fresh fruit, which includes good fiber

Proteins

Proteins are your meat, poultry and fish items. Milk products also contain protein, as do most beans and legumes. They are needed for energy and to keep your body in good shape. Here is a list of some high protein foods:

  • Beef — choose lean cuts
  • Chicken — go skinless to reduce fat
  • Pork
  • Fish — bake, grill or broil instead of frying
  • Beans
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Nuts

Small doable steps

  • Choose a 6-inch roast beef or oven-roasted chicken sub over a 6-inch tuna sub loaded with fattening mayonnaise.
  • Gradually move from whole milk products to 2 percent, 1 percent and finally fat-free milk and yogurts.

Fats

Fats should make up the smallest portion of your daily diet. Fats are found in many processed foods, so be sure to read the labels. Some fats are better than others. In fact, we need fats in our diet to keep our body working well.

Unhealthy fats are trans and saturated. Healthy fats are monosaturated and polyunsaturated. Healthy fats are found in:

  • Olive oil 
  • Vegetable oils
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fatty, cold-water fish (such as salmon, mackerel and herring)

These items also contain essential fatty acids, such as Omega-3 and Omega-6, which can help lower cholesterol. Even a very small amount of fat has a large amount of calories. Foods that include unhealthy fats are butter, ice cream, coconut oil, cheese, cakes, cookies, crackers, chips, candy and some margarines.

Small doable steps

  • Read labels and substitute healthy fats in place of unhealthy fats.
  • Try cooking with olive oil or canola oil in place of butter or margarine.
  • Eat peanut butter on apple pieces or celery stalks to get protein, carbs and fiber with your fat.

Some people with diabetes still use exchanges, which are a simple way to plan your meals.  A full day of meals might include three exchanges of whole grains, three exchanges of protein, three dairy, three vegetables and three fruits.  

A dietitian can help you plan your diet and assist you with questions about certain foods and portion sizes. If you have trouble finding a dietitian, call us toll free 1-888-830-4300 (people who are deaf or hard of hearing should dial 1-800-855-2880 (TTY 711) to speak with a Healthy Blue diabetes case manager. A diabetes case manager can help connect you to a dietitian who can work with you. Here are some ideas to get you started with making changes to your diet:

  • Eat the same amount at around the same times each day.
  • Use variety and spice things up with herbs, seasonings, lemon juice and low-sodium soy sauce.
  • Be creative.
  • Keep telling yourself you can do it.
  • Use all the resources available to you.
  • Reward yourself.

When it comes to managing diabetes, how do you measure your progress? It really depends on your goals. Do you have a certain blood sugar number you want to reach? Is your goal to have more energy to do the things that you enjoy? The answer may be different for each person with diabetes. No matter what your goal, having a plan can help you reach it. Use this checklist as a guide to help you decide which steps to take next.

Blood sugar checks 

Checking your blood sugar on your own is an important step. It can be done using a hand-held device called a glucometer, also just called a meter. In all types of glucometers, your blood sugar level will show up as a number on a screen. Knowing how your blood sugar changes after a meal can help you choose the right foods. It can also show you how well your diabetes pills or insulin is working. The chart shows target blood sugar ranges for adults with diabetes:

Blood sugar control

Blood sugar before a meal
70 - 130 mg/dl (5.0 - 7.2 mmol/l)

Blood sugar after a meal
180 mg/dl (10.0 mmol/l)

A1c
<7.0%

Here are some other things to consider:

  • Are you checking your blood sugar as often as your doctor directed?
  • Do you have a meter and the other supplies you need for testing?
  • Are you comfortable with using your meter and taking diabetes medicines?
  • Are you keeping a log of your blood sugar test results?

If you answered yes to all of those questions, you’re doing great! If not, it may be time to review the diabetes care plan you and your health care team worked to create. This will help you know how often to check your blood sugar. Your doctor can help you get all the tools you need for testing your blood sugar. You can also bring your meter with you to your next doctor’s appointment. Ask the doctor or nurse to show you how to use it. Write down your test results each time you check your blood sugar. Keep your log with your meter.

We've included the following tracking charts to help you.


Who should check?
 

Anyone with diabetes can benefit from doing blood sugar checks. It is extra important for those who are:

  • Taking insulin or diabetes pills.
  • Pregnant.
  • Having a hard time controlling their blood sugar levels.
  • Having severe low blood sugar levels or ketones from high blood sugar levels.
  • Having low blood sugar levels without the usual warning signs.

The A1c test

The A1c test is another important tool to help you and your health care team check your progress. Your score is measured by a blood test that your doctor orders. Your A1c result shows your average blood sugar levels for the past three months. This is different from the tests you do at home each day. It is usually done two to four times a year. The A1c test is not meant to replace your daily self-blood sugar testing.

The A1c goal for most people with diabetes is less than 7 percent. Almost half of adults with diabetes have an A1c of 7 percent or higher. You can use the A1c converter to see how your A1c number compares to your daily blood sugar test results.

Tools to help you

Diabetes Care Plan

Support to help you manage your diabetes

  • We can help you talk to your family or caregiver about your diabetes. 
  • We can assist you in finding community programs and resources in your area.
  • Tips to talk with your doctor and get the most out of your visit:
    • Ask any questions you may have about your diabetes. You can write them down and take them with you to your visit.
    • Follow your doctor’s advice. If you have questions or concerns, let your doctor know. 
    • Make sure your doctor knows what medicines you are taking.

Important screenings

  • Depression 
  • Other health conditions 
  • Preventive care screenings, such as wellness checkups, mammograms and Pap tests

More diabetes resources

These links lead to third party sites. These companies are solely responsible for the contents and privacy policies on their sites.


 

Heart conditions

Healthy Blue covers health care and support services based on your heart condition, such as coronary artery disease (CAD), hypertension and congestive heart failure (CHF). Services include:

  • Heart-health education materials and one-on-one support with a nurse.
  • Medical equipment you need, such as a scale, to help you manage your health.
  • A home health nurse when needed to provide personalized help for diets and when and where to go for care.
  • Information about heart education programs in your community.
  • Phone calls to you and your doctors to track your progress.
  • Information about heart education programs in your community.
  • Calls to you and your doctors to track your progress.

More cardiac resources

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Living with CHF

It may be scary to learn that you or someone you love has heart failure. It does not mean the heart has stopped beating.

CHF is an ongoing health problem in which your heart cannot pump as hard as it should. Most of the time, CHF can be treated.

We want you to know you can take control of CHF. You can take steps to help manage your condition and enjoy life. Simple steps like these can make a real difference:

  • Taking your medicines
  • Eating healthy
  • Exercising

We will keep your doctor informed of your condition and the services we provide you. Your case manager can help you learn how to better manage your CHF.

Things to know

When you have CHF, your heart doesn’t pump blood through your body as it should. There are side effects of this, such as:

  • Your body holds on to salt and water. Fluid starts to build up in your body. This causes swelling of your feet, legs and your lungs.
  • You may have symptoms like feeling weak, tired and out of breath.

Treatment can slow the disease and help you feel better.

Tips to monitor your CHF

  • Check your weight and extra body fluid (called edema).
    • Weigh yourself every day at the same time in the same kind of clothes.
    • If you have gained weight in a short time, call your doctor right away. Your doctor will tell you when to call, depending on how much weight you have gained and how fast you have gained the weight.
    • Make a daily list of your weight.
  • Learn how to recognize signs that your CHF is getting worse. Here are some signs you may have:
    • Quick weight gain
    • Trouble breathing
    • Edema in the legs and feet and other parts of the body
    • Coughing or wheezing
    • Feeling full or sick to your stomach
  • Your doctor may want you to take your blood pressure at home. Your doctor or a nurse can show you how to take your blood pressure the right way. 
  • Work with your case manager to learn about home monitoring.
  • Learn what your blood pressure reading means.
    • Blood pressure readings have two numbers.
    • The top number is called the systolic — the 120 in 120/80. It measures the pressure when the heart is pumping.
    • The bottom number is called the diastolic — the 80 in 120/80. It measures the pressure when the heart is resting.
  • Healthy adults should have a blood pressure of 120/80 or less.
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure is 140/90 or higher.
  • Talk with your doctor about when to call and when you should go to the hospital based on your blood pressure reading and other findings.

How to take your CHF medications

  • You may need to take medicines that lower your blood pressure or help your heart pump better. Doctors prescribe medications differently for each person. Your doctor will work with you to find the right medicines for you.
  • If you do not take your medications the way your doctor says, the medications may not work as well. It is best to take your medications about the same time every day.
  • Don’t take over-the-counter medicines, including cold medicines and herbal supplements, without talking to your doctor. They can prevent your medications from working the right way.
  • Call your doctor if you think you are having side effects from your medication.
  • We can help you learn how to take your medications the right way.
  • We can help you understand how your medications work.

Ways you can improve or manage your CHF

  • Quit smoking. Quitting smoking can make a big improvement in controlling your CHF. We have programs, and there are medications that can help you stop smoking.
  • Make short- and long-term goals. We can help you make healthy changes one small step at a time to improve your CHF.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight. Even a few pounds can make a difference.  We can help you make changes to your diet to fit your life.
  • Talk with your doctor about how much salt or sodium should be in your diet.
  • Get a flu shot every year. Ask your doctor if you should also have the pneumonia vaccine.
  • Limit alcohol. Ask your doctor how much, if any, alcohol is safe.

Support to help you manage your CHF

  • We can help you talk to your family or caregiver about your CHF.
  • We can assist you in finding community programs and resources in your area.
  • Tips to talk with your doctor and get the most out of your visit:
    • Ask any questions you may have about your CHF. You can write them down and take them with you to your visit.
    • Follow your doctor’s advice. If you have questions or concerns, let your doctor know.
    • Make sure your doctor knows what medicines you are taking.

Important screenings

  • Depression
  • Other health conditions
  • Preventive care screenings, such as wellness checkups, mammograms and Pap tests

Other helpful information

These links lead to third party sites. These companies are solely responsible for the contents and privacy policies on their sites.

Living with CAD

CAD happens when fatty deposits called plaque build up inside the arteries that supply blood to your heart. When the plaque builds up, it can block the passageways and reduce the blood that gets to your heart.

You can take steps to help manage your condition and enjoy life. Simple steps like these can make a real difference:

  • Eating less salt
  • Eating less fat in your diet  
  • Taking your medications correctly 

Things to know

  • Plaque is made up of cholesterol, calcium and other things in your blood.
  • The plaque inside your arteries makes them stiff and hard.
  • An artery without plaque can get wider and stretch when you exercise to let more blood flow.
  • An artery with plaque does not stretch. In this case, your heart has to work harder to give your body the blood flow it needs.
  • Other illnesses and health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes can affect your CAD.
  • You may not have any symptoms that you have CAD. Many people only find out when they have a heart attack.
  • There are many things you can do to slow CAD and reduce your risk of future problems.
  • We can give you more information to help you manage your CAD.
  • Your doctor may want to do testing to see how well your CAD is controlled.

Tips to monitor your CAD

  • Your doctor may want you to take your blood pressure at home. Work with your case manager to learn about checking your blood pressure at home.
  • Learn what your blood pressure reading means.
    • Blood pressure readings have two numbers.
    • The top number is called the systolic — the 120 in 120/80. It measures the pressure when the heart is pumping.
    • The bottom number is called the diastolic — the 80 in 120/80. It measures the pressure when the heart is resting.
  • Healthy adults should have a blood pressure of 120/80 or less.
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure is 140/90 or higher.
  • When blood pressure is too high, it starts to damage the blood vessels, heart and kidneys.
  • Untreated high blood pressure can cause major health problems, such as stroke, heart attack, heart failure and kidney disease.

Learn how to recognize signs that you may be having a heart attack. Call 911 if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain or discomfort that is crushing or squeezing, feels like pressure on your chest and lasts more than five minutes
  • Chest pain that happens with any of these symptoms:
    • Sweating
    • Trouble breathing
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Pain that moves from the chest to the neck, jaw or one or both shoulders or arms
    • Dizziness or lightheadedness, feeling like you may pass out
    • A fast or irregular heartbeat
    • A feeling of weakness or having trouble standing up
    • Confusion or inability to answer questions
  • Chest pain that has not gone away five minutes after you have taken one nitroglycerin (if prescribed by your doctor) or rested

How to take your CAD medications

  • You may need to take medicines that lower your blood pressure or lower your cholesterol. Doctors prescribe medication differently for each person. Your doctor will work with you to find the right medicines for you.
  • If you do not take your medications the way your doctor says, the medications may not work as well. It is best to take your medications about the same time every day.
  • Don’t take over-the-counter medicines, including cold medicines and herbal supplements, without talking to your doctor. They can prevent your medications from working the right way.
  • Call your doctor if you think you are having side effects from your medication.
  • We can help you learn how to take your medications the right way.
  • We can help you understand how your medications work.

Ways you can improve or manage your CAD

  • Quit smoking. Quitting smoking can make a big improvement in controlling your CAD. We have programs, and there are medications that can assist you in stopping smoking.
  • Make short- and long-term goals. You can make goals to eat better, exercise and maintain a healthy weight to fit your lifestyle. We can help you make healthy changes one small step at a time to improve your CAD.
  • Get a flu shot every year. Ask your doctor if you should also have the pneumonia vaccine.
  • Limit alcohol. Ask your doctor how much, if any, alcohol is safe.

Support to help you manage your CAD

  • We can help you talk to your family or caregiver about your CAD.
  • We can assist you in finding community programs and resources in your area.
  • Tips to talk with your doctor and get the most out of your visit:
    • Ask any questions you may have about your CAD. You can write them down and take them with you to your visit.
    • Follow your doctor’s advice. If you have questions or concerns, let your doctor know.
    • Make sure your doctor knows what medicines you are taking.

Important screenings

  • Depression
  • Other health conditions
  • Preventive care screenings, such as wellness checkups, mammograms and Pap tests    

Other helpful information
•     Medline Plus
•     American Heart Association
•     National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute

These links lead to third party sites. These companies are solely responsible for the contents and privacy policies on their sites.

Living with hypertension

Hypertension is also called high blood pressure. It is the measurement of the force against the walls of your arteries as the heart pumps blood through your body. We want you to know that you can take control of high blood pressure.

Simple steps like these can make a real difference:

  • Eating less salt 
  • Eating less fat in your diet 
  • Taking your medications correctly

We will keep your doctor informed of your condition and the services we provide you. Your case manager can help you learn how to better manage your hypertension.

Tips to monitor your hypertension

  • Your doctor may want you to take your blood pressure at home. Your doctor or a nurse can show you how to take your blood pressure the right way.  
  • Work with your case manager to learn about home testing.
  • Learn what your blood pressure reading means.
    • Blood pressure readings have two numbers.
    • Systolic is the first number — the 120 in 120/80. It measures the pressure when the heart is pumping.
    • Diastolic is the second number — the 80 in 120/80. It measures the pressure when the heart is resting.
  • Healthy adults should have a blood pressure of 120/80 or less.
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. 
  • You should have your blood pressure checked on a regular basis.
  • Your doctor will check your blood pressure during your checkups and follow-up visits.
  • Recognize signs that your hypertension is getting worse.
    • You may have no other signs besides an abnormal blood pressure reading.
    • Ask your doctor when you should seek medical attention for high blood pressure.
    • If your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher two or more times, call your doctor.
    • Some people may have serious problems because of very high blood pressure, such as:
      • Bad headaches
      • Problems with their eyesight
      • Feeling sick to the stomach (nausea) 
      • Throwing up (vomiting)
  • Dangerously high blood pressure, called malignant high blood pressure, can cause these problems. It may also be called hypertensive crisis. This is a medical emergency. You should get medical help right away.
  • Call your doctor right away if you have headaches or other symptoms that could be due to high blood pressure.

Things to know

  • Most of the time there are no symptoms of hypertension. That is why it has been called the silent killer.
  • When blood pressure is too high, it starts to damage the blood vessels, heart and kidneys.
  • Untreated high blood pressure can cause major health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, heart attack, heart failure and kidney disease. 
  • Your doctor may want to do testing to see how your blood pressure is doing.

How to take your hypertension medications

You may need to take medicines that lower your high blood pressure.

  • Medications are prescribed differently for each person. Your doctor will work with you to find the right medicines for you.
  • If you do not take your medications the way your doctor says, the medications may not work as well. It is best to take your medications about the same time every day.
  • Don’t take over-the-counter medicines, including cold medicines and herbal supplements, without talking to your doctor. They can prevent your medications from working the right way.
  • Call your doctor if you think you are having side effects from your medication.

Ways you can improve or manage your hypertension

  • Quit smoking. Quitting smoking can make a big improvement in controlling your blood pressure. We have programs, and there are medications that can assist you in stopping smoking. 
  • Make short- and long-term goals. We can help you make healthy changes one small step at a time to improve your hypertension. 
  • Lose weight if you are overweight. Even a few pounds can make a difference. We can help you make changes to your diet to fit your life. 
  • Talk with your doctor about how much salt or sodium should be in your diet. 
  • Get a flu shot every year. Ask your doctor if you should also have the pneumonia vaccine.

Support to help you manage your hypertension

  • We can help you talk to your family or caregiver about your hypertension. 
  • We can help you find community programs and resources in your area.
  • Tips to talk with your doctor and get the most out of your visit:
    • Ask any questions you may have about your high blood pressure. You can write them down and take them with you to your visit.
    • Follow your doctor’s advice. If you have questions or concerns, let your doctor know.
    • Make sure your doctor knows what medicines you are taking.

Important screenings

  • Depression
  • Other health conditions
  • Preventive care screenings, such as wellness checkups, mammograms and Pap tests    

Other helpful information

•     U.S. National Library of Medicine
•     Medline Plus
•     American Heart Association
•     National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute   

These links lead to third party sites. These companies are solely responsible for the contents and privacy policies on their sites.

HIV/AIDS

Living with HIV/AIDS

HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system. It makes it hard for the body to fight infection and disease. HIV is the same virus that causes AIDS, which raises a person’s risk of developing certain cancers and infections.

You can take control. Simple steps like taking your medications correctly, eating healthy, exercising and following your treatment plan can make a real difference.
 

  • Your immune system helps you fight infection and illness.
  • White blood cells are an important part of your immune system. HIV kills certain white blood cells called CD4+ cells. If it kills too many cells, your body can’t fight infections or other illnesses.
  • HIV infection may progress to AIDS. People who have AIDS have a low number of CD4+ cells. They can get infections that healthy people don’t get.
  • Having HIV does not mean you have AIDS. Many people with HIV/AIDS are able to live long and active lives.
  • We can give you more information to help you manage your HIV/AIDS.
  • Your doctor will take tests to monitor the HIV and how your immune system is working.
  • You and your doctor can talk about your treatment options.
  • Taking your medicines exactly as prescribed can help you stay healthy. It is important not to miss any doses.
  • Medications for HIV/AIDS are called antiretroviral (anti-retro-viral) drugs.
  • Taking antiretroviral drugs is not a cure for your HIV, but they may help you stay healthy for a long time.
  • It is important to take your medication on time. If you miss a dose or are late taking a dose, it may not work as well.
  • Talk to your doctor before taking new medications. These include medications that do not need a prescription.
  • We can help you understand how your medications work.
  • Quit smoking. People with HIV have a greater chance of having a heart attack or getting lung cancer. Smoking can increase your risk even more. We have programs, and there are medications that can help you stop smoking.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet to keep your immune system strong.
  • Get regular exercise to reduce stress and improve the quality of your life.
  • Don’t use illegal drugs, and limit how much alcohol you use.
  • Talk to your doctor about other things you can do to stay healthy
  • We can help you talk to your family or caregiver about your HIV/AIDS.
  • We can help you find community programs and resources in your area.
  • Ask any questions you may have about your infection. You can write them down and take them with you to your visit.
  • Follow your doctor’s advice. If you have questions or concerns, let your doctor know.
  • Make sure your doctor knows what medicines you are taking.
  • Depression
  • Other health conditions
  • Preventive care screenings

These links lead to third party sites. These companies are solely responsible for the contents and privacy policies on their sites.
 

Lung conditions

Healthy Blue covers health care and support services based on your lung condition. Lung conditions include asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Services include:

  • One-on-one support from a disease management (DM) case manager
  • Written education materials sent to your home
  • Medical equipment you need, such as:
    • Nebulizers
    • Spacers
    • Peak flow meters
  • A home health nurse when needed to show you:
    • How to use asthma medicine
    • When and where to go for care
    • How to stay away from things that trigger asthma attacks
  • Information about education programs in your community
  • Phone calls to you and your doctors to track your progress

More lung condition resources

American Lung Association
AANMA - Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics 
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

These links lead to third party sites. These companies are solely responsible for the contents and privacy policies on their sites.

Living with Asthma

Asthma is a disease of the branches of the windpipe (bronchial tubes) that carry air in and out of the lungs. When you have an asthma attack, your airways become narrow and can fill up with fluid. The muscles around them tighten. This makes it hard for you to breathe.

Take control of asthma by: 

  • Avoiding your triggers.  
  • Using asthma controller medication.

Things to know

  • Triggers are things around you every day that can make your asthma worse. Your triggers may include dust, pollen, tobacco smoke, and other things at home, work or school. You can improve your asthma if you know your triggers and stay away from them as much as you can.
  • The flu or a cold can make your asthma symptoms worse. Other health conditions can make it harder for you to control your asthma as well.
  • Signs that your asthma is getting worse include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and a tight feeling in your chest. You may have other signs.  
  • We can give you more information to help you manage your asthma.
  • Your doctor may want to do testing to see how well your asthma is controlled.

Tips to monitor your asthma

  • Use a peak flow meter 

We can teach you how to use a peak flow meter. A peak flow meter is a device that measures how much air you can push out of your lungs when you blow as hard as you can. You can use your peak flow rate to see if you are having a good or bad asthma day. A lower than normal peak flow rate is an early sign that your asthma is getting worse.

  • Use an asthma action plan

An asthma action plan is written information from your doctor that tells you how to manage your asthma. It has things for you to do every day to treat your asthma. It also tells you what to do if you are sick or your asthma is worse. It may tell you to start taking some medicines if your peak flow rate is below a certain number. Your asthma action plan will help you know when to call your doctor and when to get help right away.

How to take your asthma medications

  • What kind of asthma medicines are you taking?
    • Quick relief medicines — These can help you if you have an asthma attack or a sudden problem breathing. This kind of medicine usually does not last very long. It does not prevent you from having an asthma attack.
    • Long-term (maintenance) medicines — This medicine does not work right away and is used to help prevent asthma attacks. It will not help you breathe right away if you are having an asthma attack.
    • It is very important to take your medicines just like your doctor tells you, even if you are feeling better.
  • We can help you know how to take your medications the right way.
  • We can help you to use inhalers, spacers, nebulizers and other devices that help you get the most out of your medicine doses.
  • We can help you understand how your medications work.

Ways you can improve or manage your asthma

  • Quit smoking. Quitting smoking can make the biggest improvement in controlling your asthma. We have programs, and there are medications that can help you stop smoking. 
  • Make short- and long-term goals. We can help you make goals to eat better, exercise and maintain a healthy weight. You can make goals to fit your lifestyle. We can help you make healthy changes one small step at a time to improve your asthma. 
  • Get a flu shot every year. Ask your doctor if you should also have the pneumonia vaccine.

Support to help you manage your asthma

  • We can help you talk to your family or caregiver about your asthma.
  • We can help you find community programs and resources in your area.
  • Tips to talk with your doctor and get the most out of your visit:
    • Ask any questions you may have about your asthma. You can write them down and take them with you to your visit.
    • Follow your doctor’s advice — if you have questions or concerns, let your doctor know.
    • Make sure your doctor knows what medicines you are taking.

Important screenings

  • Depression
  • Other health conditions
  • Preventive care screenings, such as wellness checkups, mammograms and Pap tests

More asthma resources

These links lead to third party sites. These companies are solely responsible for the contents and privacy policies on their sites.

Living with COPD

COPD is a group of long-term lung diseases in which the airways become narrowed and make it hard to breathe. But it doesn’t have to slow you down. You can learn simple steps that can help you stop smoking, breathe easier and improve your quality of life.

Things to know

  • Risk factors are things you may be exposed to at home, work or school that can cause a flare-up of symptoms. Some of these risk factors are tobacco smoke, wood burning stoves or fireplaces, chemicals, dust, or fumes.
  • The flu, bronchitis or a cold can make your COPD symptoms worse. Other health conditions can make it harder for you to control your COPD.
  • We can give you more information to help you manage your COPD.
  • Your doctor may want to do testing to see how your COPD is doing.

Tips to monitor

  • Use a COPD action or management plan.
  • A COPD action plan is written information from your doctor that tells you how to manage your COPD, such as:
    • Things for you to do every day to treat your COPD.
    • What to do if you are sick or your COPD symptoms are worse.
    • When to start taking some medicines if you are having more symptoms than usual. 
    • Know when to call your doctor and when to get help right away.
  • Know the signs and symptoms that your COPD is getting worse.
  • Signs that your COPD is getting worse include:  
    • Harder to catch your breath 
    • Less energy
    • A change in color or thickness of phlegm or mucus
    • More coughing
    • Taking quick relief medicines more often
    • Medicine not helping
    • You may have other signs

How to take your COPD medications

  • What kind of COPD medicines are you taking?
    • Quick relief medicines — help you if you have a COPD flare-up or sudden problems breathing. This kind of medicine usually does not last very long. It does not prevent you from having a COPD flare-up.
    • Long-term medicines — this medicine does not work right away and is used to help your everyday COPD symptoms. It will not help you breathe if you are having a COPD flare-up.
    • It is very important to take your medicines just like your doctor tells you, even if you are feeling better.
  • We can help you know how to take your medications the right way.
  • We can help you to use inhalers, spacers, nebulizers and other devices.
  • We can help you understand how your medications work.

Ways you can improve or manage your COPD

  • Quit smoking. Quitting smoking can make the biggest improvement in controlling your COPD. We have programs, and there are medications that can assist you in stopping smoking.
  • Make short- and long-term goals. We can help you make goals to eat better, exercise, and maintain a healthy weight. Goals can be made to fit your lifestyle. We can help you make healthy changes one small step at a time to improve your COPD.
  • Get a flu shot every year. Ask your doctor if you should have the pneumonia vaccine.

Support to help you manage your COPD

  • We can help you talk to your family or caregiver about your COPD.
  • We can help you find community programs and resources in your area.
  • Tips to talk with your doctor and get the most out of your visit:
    • Ask any questions you may have about your COPD. You can write them down and take them with you to your visit.
    • Follow your doctor’s advice — if you have questions or concerns, let your doctor know.
    • Make sure your doctor knows what medicines you are taking.

Important screenings

  • Depression
  • Other health conditions
  • Preventive care screenings, such as wellness checkups, mammograms and Pap tests

More COPD resources

These links lead to third party sites. These companies are solely responsible for the contents and privacy policies on their sites.

Useful phone numbers

For routine health questions

Call your primary care provider (PCP) or the 24-Hour Nurseline.

In an emergency

Call 911.

Call your case manager

8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. local time, Monday through Friday toll free at 1-888-830-4300 (TTY 711). You can also leave a private message for your case manager 24 hours a day.

After hours

For help anytime, call the 24-Hour Nurseline at 1-866-577-9710 (TTY 1-800-368-4424), 24 hours a day, seven days a week.