More than 3 million people are living with a life altering disease and many don’t even know it. Pre-diabetes is a growing health concern, but health experts say they’re hopeful that a new program will help patients overcome it.
Diabetes educator Annette McClenahan says if patients don’t recognize and correct the problem, they will develop diabetes. “The blood sugars are higher than normal but not high enough to be considered diabetes. The really great thing is pre-diabetes can be reversed. Now, if you don’t do anything about pre-diabetes, on average in five years that advances to type two diabetes.”
Patients living with pre-diabetes have no symptoms, but they will have risk factors like being overweight, being over the age of 45, not being active, and having high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
A new program at Lee Health is helping patients with pre-diabetes modify their lifestyle to prevent diabetes. “This really focuses on lifestyle and lifestyle modification. What it does is we look at two goals of weight loss—5 to 7 percent total body weight loss-- and increasing your activity to 150 minutes per week. We know based on evidence that these things can help reverse diabetes,” said McClenahan.
The decade old program launched its first class in Lee County in July. The yearlong commitment has proven to help patients prevent diabetes.
“The National Institute of Health has done studies, there’s been a 58 percent reduction in the onset of type two diabetes with people that have done this program,” said McClenahan.
The program offers patients a lifestyle coach who will help modify their eating habits and increase their exercise. “It really hits all those things that we run into with everyday life and it tries to give you tools to be successful,” said McClenahan.
Doctors can run a series of blood tests to determine if a patient is at risk. If they have pre-diabetes, doctors may refer them to the pre-diabetes program.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.