Prisma Health offers diabetes prevention, education programs

Published on Wednesday, November 24, 2021

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Prisma Health offers diabetes prevention, education programs
South Carolina ranks seventh highest in the country in percent of adult population with diabetes, and diabetes is one of the top eight leading causes of death for South Carolina residents.

According to the United Health Foundation, South Carolina exceeds the national average for rates of diagnosis in every category – age, race and income levels. During Diabetes Awareness Month, Prisma Health physicians are seeking to impact these trends by encouraging individuals to be aware of risk factors and early signs and symptoms, as well as sharing information on how the disease can be prevented and treated.

There are two types of diabetes: Type 1, the type that typically occurs in younger people and is diagnosed at an early age, and Type 2, the type known as the disease of diet and lifestyle where your body does not function well as a result of increased intake of fats and sugars. Type 2 is typically diagnosed later in life.

“Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable. The best way to prevent diabetes is to manage your lifestyle with both a healthy diet and exercise,” said Dr. Hunter Leigh, DO, Family Medicine-Mountain View in Greer. “We encourage individuals to evaluate their diet. Does it include a lot of processed food, takeout or sugary drinks? You may need to adjust your eating habits to reduce your risk.”

Nationally, approximately 88 million Americans have pre-diabetes according to the CDC, which raises a person's risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), increased risk factors for type 2 diabetes also include:

  • Being age 45 or older
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Being physically inactive
  • Being Black, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American or Pacific Islander
  • Having a parent or sibling with diabetes
  • Having high blood pressure

Prisma Health offers a year-long Diabetes Prevention Program that is structured to provide healthy lifestyle intervention for those at risk for Type 2 diabetes. The program includes support from a trained lifestyle coach and a support group, as well as instruction on how to eat healthier, increase physical activity and lose a modest amount of weight in order to reduce chances of the disease developing.

Those at risk should monitor for the common signs and symptoms of diabetes according to the ADA, which include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Numb and tingling hands and feet
  • Blurry vision
  • Feeling hungry
  • Increased urinary frequency

However, some patients with diabetes can experience other symptoms, or none at all, according to Leigh. “We encourage patients who may be worried about risk factors or any of these symptoms to talk with their physicians early, to monitor the risk and identify if further testing is needed.”

Once diagnosed, treatment options typically include diet and lifestyle changes, oral medications and insulin therapy with injections. “Your provider will recommend the best mix of treatment for your specific case,” added Leigh.




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