The Wyoming Department of Health wants residents to know that November is Diabetes Awareness month.
The WDH also wants residents to know they can take control and help prevent diabetes by keeping a check on their activity levels, nutrition and by maintaining a weight in a healthy range.
Laura Collins, Chronic Disease Prevention Program manager with WDH, said one in three Wyoming adults may have a condition known as prediabetes but often do not realize it.
“Prediabetes should be viewed as a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes,” Collins said. “Prediabetes puts you at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.”
Collins encourages residents to get a better idea of their prediabetes status and risk factors by visiting www.doihaveprediabetes.org online.
“A simple blood test can also let you know if you are at risk. Other factors include weight and family medical history,” she said.
The good news is that taking action to be more active and eat in a more balanced way can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes, Collins said. Many people need support to make lifestyle changes, and one way that can really boost a resident’s personal efforts is enrolling in a diabetes-prevention program, according to Collins. She said the WDH has worked to make these no- or low-cost programs more available across the state.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, programs are offered online, in person or with a combination, depending on the community and person.
“These programs can have added benefits during COVID as people are isolating a little more and out of their routines. The classes are a fun way to get the support you need,” Collins said.
Diabetes prevention programs approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been shown to cut the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% (71% for people over 60 years old). Participants may lose 5 to 7% of their body weight through healthier eating and 150 minutes of physical activity a week. Collins said a study showed those who complete a type 2 diabetes prevention lifestyle change program were a third less likely to develop type 2 diabetes after 10 years.
“Healthcare providers can be a powerful force helping to prevent this disease,” Collins said. “It’s been shown before that one out of every two people enroll into a diabetes prevention program when their physician recommended it to them, compared to one in ten who were not referred to the program.”
WDH encourages healthcare providers to screen, test and refer individuals with abnormal blood sugar levels to a CDC-recognized diabetes prevention program. A list of CDC-recognized programs in Wyoming can be found at https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/prevention/chronicdisease/program-map/. At least 12 of these programs are in Wyoming so far; an online program is planned for spring.
For more information, visit https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/prevention/chronicdisease/ or call (307) 777-3579.