Submitted by OSF HealthCare Saint James — John W. Albrecht Medical Center
One in three adult Americans — that’s 86 million people — have prediabetes and most of them don’t know it.
Having prediabetes means your blood glucose level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. This raises your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
If you have prediabetes or other risk factors for type 2 diabetes, now is the time to take charge of your health and make a change. The lifestyle change program, Diabetes Prevention Program at OSF HealthCare Saint James — John W. Albrecht Medical Center in Pontiac, can help.
The program is part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It features an approach that is proven to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.
Mary Heath, manager of education at OSF Saint James, said the Diabetes Prevention Program will launch in March, and is being offered free to participants.
“The program is based off a study the National Diabetes Prevention Project undertook to see if lifestyle changes alone were better than taking the anti-diabetic drug metformin, and to see if implementing lifestyle changes could better prevent people from getting type 2 diabetes,” Heath said.
In the study, one group was given the drug metformin, and one group incorporated lifestyle changes, such as healthier eating and exercising 150 minutes a week.
“The results were astounding,” Heath said. “Even a modest weight loss — five percent to seven percent of a person’s body weight — which for a 200-pound person means a loss of 10 to 14 pounds, reduced the chance of developing diabetes by 58 percent. The group taking the drug saw the chance of developing type 2 diabetes drop by 31 percent.”
For study participants who were 60 years or older, the lifestyle changes worked extremely well, Heath said. That group saw their chance of developing type 2 diabetes drop by 71 percent.
The program will utilize certified diabetes educators, a dietitian, and exercise specialists who have been trained through the CDC to be lifestyle coaches.
“Our lifestyle coaches are trained on how to motivate the program’s participants and sustain that motivation to keep them on track,” she said.
As a group, participants in the program will learn to eat healthy, add physical activity to their lives, stay motivated, and solve problems that may get in their way of healthy changes.
“If you have prediabetes,” Heath said. “The Diabetes Prevention Program offers a real chance to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by helping you adopt a healthier lifestyle.”
Participants in the program will meet for a year. For the first 16 weeks, the group will meet weekly for one hour and it’s during this time that most will see their weight loss. Following that, the group will meet monthly.
“It’s a marvelous program for those who qualify,” Heath said. “The program is open to people who have been told they have prediabetes or have a body mass index of 24 or greater. Also, women with a history of gestational diabetes are at greater risk.”
Unfortunately, people already diagnosed with diabetes are unable to participate.
“This could be the wave of the future to help people stop the progress of the disease — to arrest this condition maybe for as long as the rest of their life, but probably at least 10 or 15 years,” Heath said. “A little bit of effort now can really pay off handsomely for your health.”
To learn more about the Diabetes Prevention Program at OSF HealthCare Saint James — John W. Albrecht Medical Center, contact Sherri Schlatter, RN, CDE, Diabetes Educator at 815-842-4970. An informational meeting will be held from five to seven pm, Wednesday, February 28 at OSF Saint James. For more information, or to register, call 815-842-4970, or visit www.osfsaintjames.org.
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