HAHRC BEATS: Preventing type 2 diabetes begins with changes

November is national diabetes month. But wouldn’t it be nice if we could prevent type 2 diabetes? About 86 million people in the United States have pre-diabetes. Without any intervention, about 60 million will go on to develop type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes used to be called adult-onset. It is caused by a mixture of genetics and lifestyle factors. When you have type 2 diabetes you have a higher chance of having:

• A stroke

• Heart disease

• High blood pressure

• High cholesterol levels

• Kidney disease

• Other complications

These are just a few reasons why trying to prevent type 2 diabetes is worth the effort!

Many studies have shown that lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 50 percent. These include modest weight loss and increasing physical activity. However, we all know that making lifestyle changes are not easy.

The Center for Disease Control now has a national Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). The DPP is a year-long pledge. This is because we know how difficult it can be to make and maintain changes in our lifestyle, especially changes in our diet and activity level. A lifestyle coach trained for the DPP teaches the classes. Classes are held weekly in the beginning of the program. Then they transition to once or twice a month later in the year. Each class is just an hour long.

To participate in the DPP, you must be at risk or have prediabetes. These are examples of risk factors for prediabetes:

• An A1c blood test result that is between 5.7-6.4 percent or have a fasting blood sugar between 110-125 mg/dl or

• You had gestational diabetes (diabetes when you are pregnant that goes away when baby is born), delivered a baby that was 9 pounds or more, or took the prediabetes risk quiz and scored 9 or higher (www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention/pdf/prediabetes-test.pdf).

The good news is that because of a grant from Pacificsource Community Health Excellence program, the DPP will be offered in Hood River and Wasco counties starting in 2018. More good news is that in 2018, Medicare will begin covering the cost of the DPP. In the past, Medicare only covered the cost of education once you developed diabetes, not the prevention of diabetes. We are hopeful that other insurance companies will also begin covering the cost of preventing type 2 diabetes through the DPP.

Look for information sessions about diabetes prevention classes starting in the beginning of 2018. Information sessions will be held in both Hood River and Wasco Counties. Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital and Mid-Columbia Medical Center Diabetes Educators Kelly Chambers and Jennifer Zimmerman will be the clinical coordinators of the program in Hood River and Wasco county, respectively. We are also looking for people that might like to become a lifestyle coach for the DPP.

For more information, please call Chambers at 541-387-6379 or email kelly.chambers @providence.org.

Healthy Active Hood River County (HAHRC) is a community healthy living coalition that promotes wellness through increased physical activity, healthy eating, tobacco use prevention, behavioral health, prevention of addictions and policy and environmental change. The next meeting will be held on Nov. 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Providence Hood River Hospital Conference Room 5.

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