According to the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 25.8 million children and adults in the United States (8.3% of the population) have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Of those 25.8 million, 18.8 million are diagnosed while 7 million people remain undiagnosed. In addition, there are also an estimated 79 million people with pre-diabetes.
Before people develop type 2 diabetes, they almost always have “pre-diabetes” which means that their blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Recent research has shown that some long-term damage to the body, especially the heart and circulatory system, may already be occurring during pre-diabetes. The good news is that lifestyle changes, including healthy eating and being active with resulting weight loss, can delay or even prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Helping our patients manage diabetes is a high priority at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates. Complications of diabetes can lead to heart disease and stroke, hypertension, blindness and eye problems, dental disease, kidney disease, nervous system disease, amputation, and more. In an effort to stay ahead of this disease, our medical teams review each diabetic patient’s record and design a specific care management plan. In addition, our pharmacists review diabetic patients whose A1C test is outside the normal range and recommend medication changes to the patient’s physician.
A diagnosis of pre-diabetes or diabetes can be overwhelming. To help our patients manage this disease, we offer a variety of health education classes that can be found under “Diabetes Self Management” in our health & wellness classes listing.
For those with pre-diabetes:
- Reduce Your Risks: Stop Diabetes in its Track – this class addresses the risk for developing type 2 diabetes and how diet and physical activity can delay or prevent the disease if you have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes.
For those with diabetes: Living With Diabetes is a series of four classes that will help you understand the disease process and improve your diabetes self-management skills. These classes are:
- Introduction to Living with Diabetes - helps you understand your diagnosis of diabetes and gives you the opportunity to interact with other patients to discuss the management of this chronic disease.
- Healthy Eating for People with Diabetes - this class focuses on the importance of nutrition in managing your diabetes.
- Managing Blood Glucose - learn how to manage your blood glucose levels and set goals for physical activity, medication and coping with stress.
- Preventing Long Term Complications, Goal Setting and Problem Solving – this class prepares you for ongoing management of your diabetes.
Patients who participate in these classes often do improve their control of aspects of their diabetes compared to those who do not participate. These classes, certified by the American Diabetes Association, require a referral from your clinician. If you are a patient at Harvard Vanguard and are interested in attending, please contact your clinician.