Reducing Your Risk for Developing Diabetes

April 02, 2018

NORTH CONWAY, NH – It’s not an exaggeration to say that diabetes, and its precursor prediabetes, is reaching epidemic proportions nationwide. In fact, in 2015, 84.1 million Americans age 18 and older had prediabetes, a condition that presages type 2 diabetes where blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, there are no clear symptoms of prediabetes, so, you may have it and not know it.

But the good news is that you do not develop type 2 diabetes automatically if you have prediabetes. For some people with prediabetes, early treatment can actually return blood glucose levels to the normal range.

That’s why Memorial Hospital recently announced it will be offering a Healthy Lifestyles Class as part of a National Diabetes Prevention Program designed to teach lifestyle changes to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. The next class begins on Thursday, May 3, 2018 from 5-6pm at the Miranda Center for Diabetes at Memorial Hospital in the Swift River Conference Room.

This program will help participants learn how to eat healthier and be active; develop skills to make healthier choices; and get the long-term supported needed to stick with the changes. Those with prediabetes can cut the risk of getting type 2 diabetes in half by making changes to improve your health.

National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) is an evidence-based program based on research led by the National Institutes of Health. The research showed that people with prediabetes who take part in a structured lifestyle change program cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% through modest weight loss (5%-7%) DPP results indicate that millions of high-risk people can delay or avoid developing type 2 diabetes by losing weight through regular physical activity and a diet low in fat and calories.

This MaineHealth initiative is lead by Christina Holt, M.D., M.Sc., a passionate advocate and practitioner of preventive medicine. Dr. Holt has been a member of the Maine Medical Partners (MMP) Portland Family Medicine faculty at Maine Medical Center (MMC - Maine’s largest tertiary care hospital) for 12 years. Diabetes is a MaineHealth organizational priority and is a top priority across its many communities, many of whom named diabetes as a key concern in their 2016 Community Health Needs Assessments.

The program is a complement to the hospital’s Miranda Center for Diabetes education and outreach programs, and the work of its population health team and the Let’s Go program. Let’s Go is launching its “Small Steps” healthy living program for adults as an addition to their established school-based programs for students.

“The Healthy Lifestyles Diabetes Prevention Program is an incredibly successful program that really allows us to connect with our community and make a huge difference in their overall health and wellness. We do this one step at a time; but most importantly we are able to prevent a life threatening disease from developing. I am very excited to help lead this initiative for preventative health in the valley.”

To sign up, call Heather Phillips at 603-356-5461 ext. 2187 or Brenda McKay at 603-356-3796 ext. 3329.