To help people with prediabetes take control of their health, Baptist Health South Florida is launching the first Center for Disease Control diabetes prevention program for prediabetic patients.
Before people develop type 2 diabetes, they usually get prediabetes, which means their blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be called diabetes. In 2012, 86 million Americans age 20 and older had prediabetes, an increase from 79 million in 2010.
“Diabetes is epidemic in our community,” said Rooney Brodie, director of community health for Baptist Health South Florida.
The Diabetes Prevention Program will follow participants for one year, and require participants to attend weekly sessions for the first six months and monthly sessions thereafter. The sessions will teach people how to eat healthy, develop an exercise program and include cooking demonstrations of healthy foods.
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Participants will meet with a registered dietitian and a registered nurse certified in diabetes education, plus a psychologist and trainer.
The first session will begin Jan. 19. The group will have 25 participants who will meet at the Baptist Health Medical Plaza at Westchester Health Resource Center. The program is free and applicants are now being accepted.
Participants will be screened at the first session, and the third-, sixth- and 12-month mark of the program.
“It’s very intensive and requires a lot of commitment,” she said. “There’s a lot of innovative session that we’ve committed to the program.”
Many people don’t realize they are prediabetic, although there are certain risk factors. The risk factors include:
▪ Being older than 45;
▪ Being overweight or obese;
▪ Having a family history of diabetes or a history of diabetes while pregnant;
▪ Being physically active fewer than three times a week;
▪ Being African-American, Hispanic, American Indian, Asian-American or Pacific Islander, according to the CDC.
Prediabetes can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke and contracting type 2 diabetes, which is linked to being overweight or obese. People who get type 2 diabetes — about 95 percent of diabetes cases are type 2 — are at risk of kidney failure, blindness, stroke, heart disease and foot or toe amputations.
Type 2 diabetes can be controlled — or prevented — through losing weight, eating healthy and exercising more.
But most people don’t even know they have prediabetes. Thus, if you have any of the above risk factors, you should immediately discuss your situation with your doctor, said Carla Dueñas, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at Baptist Health.
“Often there are no symptoms,” Dueñas said.
There are some signs such as increased urination, fatigue, headaches or blurred vision. Dark patches of skin around the neck area or armpits are another indicator.
“That’s a sign that the person has very high blood sugar,” she said.