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Diabetes Education Programs at UHD
Posted: 9-1-2011 10:45AM


Diabetes is not a new disease, but its prevalence is increasing at an alarming rate, causing healthcare systems to re-evaluate how to provide the best possible care. With UHD recently becoming a medical health care home, part of our mission is to improve care for chronic disease states. Providing personalized care using health information technology and engaging patients as part of the health care team to meet their individual needs is key to improving the health of the patients with diabetes.
Darlene Turner, Family Nurse Practitioner and Certified Diabetes Educator, and Stacie Stindtman, Registered Dietician, are excited to be incorporating some new services to meet the goals of improving outcomes for patients with diabetes, including increasing community awareness, which leads to earlier diagnosis and improved support and services for those affected by diabetes.
As reported in 2011 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of people in the United States with diabetes reached nearly 26 million, or 8.3% of the population. It was estimated that an additional 79 million Americans had pre-diabetes, or 35% of the adult population. It is no coincidence that the increase in type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes is mirrored by an increase in the numbers of people who are overweight and obese; approximately 80-90% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) statistics show that every year 20,000 Minnesotans are newly diagnosed with diabetes. It is the sixth leading cause of death in our state.
There is currently no cure for diabetes; proper management of the disease requires lifestyle modifications and medication. As a health care team it is our job to help them learn more about the condition so that they can slow down the progression of their disease. There are three major components to treatment of diabetes. Healthy eating habits, physical activity, and medications are all needed in our efforts to prevent complications. All our education efforts revolve around the self management skills that are needed to improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of developing complications.
Risk factors for diabetes and pre-diabetes include being overweight or obese, having family history of diabetes, age over 45 years, history of elevated blood glucose, hypertension, elevated cholesterol, history of diabetes in pregnancy, and history of delivering a baby above nine pounds at birth. Pre-diabetes is diagnosed with a fasting blood sugar from 100-125 mg/dl. Finding out early will be able to help you take charge of your health by modifying your lifestyle though diet and exercise.
Two new programs have been initiated within the last month at UHD. “Diabetes 101” is a new educational group offered to those newly diagnosed or for those wishing to learn more about their disease. Stindtman offers her expertise in nutrition and Turner covers the topics of medical disease management and complications. This is a two-hour course being offered quarterly in January, April, July, and October. Our next session will be held on October 18 from 5:30- 7:30 in the UHD conference room.
UHD is also pleased to be able to provide the I CAN Prevent Diabetes program. The goal of this program is for the participants to lose 7% of their body weight through learning to eat healthier and to increase physical activity over a sixteen-week period. Goals are set for each participant based on their current weight and activity level. The program was created through the Minnesota Department of Health, and has other groups around the state. The past results were that 58% of the group was able to avoid developing diabetes, and those over 60 years of age, the results were even better at 71%.
Our new group meets on Mondays from 5:15-6:15 in the UHD conference room, from August 1 through November 14, and will continue with monthly meetings to support the lifestyle interventions made. The criteria for being in this group includes having the diagnosis of pre-diabetes, being overweight, or having multiple risk factors for diabetes. If you are interested in joining this program, please talk to Stindtman or Turner for details, and you will be added to the waiting list for the next time the class is offered. “My hope for this class is that 100% of our group meets the weight reduction and physical activity goals and that we are able to support one another and have fun as we learn together,” says Turner. She is acting not only as a lifestyle coach in this endeavor but also as a participant. “I know that I have risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, and I know through my daily work with patients who have the disease, that I really don’t want to have diabetes in my future. If I can prevent it with lifestyle changes, now is the time to do it.” The I CAN Prevent Diabetes program has been sponsored in part by the MDH State Health Improvement Program, and also has a registration fee of $80 for the 16 week course, and ongoing monthly support for the first year. For more information contact Stacie Stindtman at 507-526-7955 or Darlene Turner at 507-526-7388.
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