One-third of adults have prediabetes, and most of them don’t know it. And 29.1 million people (or 9.3% of the population) actually have diabetes. Before people develop Type 2 diabetes, they almost always have “prediabetes,” when your blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. You may be able to get off the path to diabetes by changing your eating and fitness habits.
“Wherever you fall on the diabetes spectrum, Westmed is committed to your health with key diabetes prevention and care measures,” said Dr. Caroline DeFilippo, WESTMED’s associate medical director of internal medicine. Westmed currently cares for over 7,000 patients with Type 2 diabetes.
You will not develop Type 2 diabetes automatically if you have prediabetes. “You can likely head it off if you take the right steps,” said Dr. DeFilippo.
According to the ADA, research shows that you can lower your risk for Type 2 diabetes by 58% by: (1) Losing 7% of your body weight (or 15 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds) and (2) Exercising moderately (such as brisk walking) 30 minutes a day, five days a week
Patients who are prediabetic can work with their primary care physician at Westmed and/or the Westmed Weight Management Team to accomplish those goals. “Losing even 10 to 15 pounds can make a huge difference.”
In a diabetes diagnosis, it’s either Type 1 and Type 2, with Type 2 diabetes accounting for 90-95 percent of diagnosed diabetes in U.S. adults. In Type 1, diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes, the body produces little or no insulin. A contributing factor can be genetics. In Type 2, either the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the cells are resistant to the effects of insulin.
Treatment for the more common Type 2 diabetes can range from pills, diet and exercise to insulin. Diabetes is life-long once diagnosed, but it is controllable.
WE WORK AS A TEAM WITH THE DIABETES PATIENT
Barbara DiLello-Smith, RN, BS and certified diabetes educator adds, “At WESTMED, the members of our diabetes care team are the primary care physician, the endocrinologist, the diabetes educator, the nurse practitioner, the ophthalmologist, podiatrist, nutritionist and the patient.”
The Importance of “Doing Your Homework”
- Use fingersticks to self-monitor your blood glucose – The main tool you have to check your diabetes control is to continuously monitor your blood sugar. “Having a good blood glucose meter is like having your own laboratory,” says Dr. Stein. “Blood sugar monitoring is important because tight control protects against complications, such as neuropathy and kidney disease.” And when you’re traveling, “don’t leave home without your meter,” she adds.
- Follow your doctor’s treatment plan. Work with your doctor and tweak it until it works well.
Getting Your Insulin
Your health care team will help you with insulin therapy that fits your lifestyle and keeps your blood glucose near normal. You will be taught how to manage your diabetes using a variety of glucose monitoring and insulin-delivery devices.
Other aspects of diabetes care are also vital. For instance:
Dr. Steven Zabin, Westmed ophthalmologist says, “whether an individual has just been diagnosed or has had diabetes for decades, periodic eye exams at least once every year–or more frequently for some– are necessary.”
Dr. Harold Goldstein, Westmed podiatrist, advises, “Proper foot care is essential. The key to amputation prevention is early detection and regular foot screenings from a podiatrist at least once a year.”
In April 2016, Westmed announced becoming a member of the AMGA Foundation’s Diabetes: Together 2 Goal® campaign along with more than 120 other leading healthcare organizations across the country. This national campaign aims to improve care for 1 million people with Type 2 diabetes in the United States by 2019.