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Giving Tools to Prevent a Deadly Disease

By Abigail Weaver

Giving Tools to Prevent  a Deadly DiseaseNovember was National Diabetes Awareness Month, but there’s another important facet of awareness regarding the growing epidemic of diabetes’ relative—prediabetes.  According to the CDC, “a person with prediabetes has a blood sugar level higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes.” (visit www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/prediabetes).

Odds are everyone has at least one friend with prediabetes or diabetes, a disease that produces more than $245 billion in medical costs in the United States each year.  Currently, 29 million Americans have diabetes and 86 million have prediabetes, yet only about 9 million know they have it.  While diabetes has no cure, prediabetes is a potentially reversible condition.  Did you hear that? Prediabetes may be reversible; diabetes has no cure.  Studies have shown that people with prediabetes can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by making some lifestyle changes.

The Greater Kingsport Family YMCA and Y’s across the country want to help 1 million Americans determine if they are at risk for diabetes. YOU CAN HELP YOURSELF. YOU CAN HELP A FRIEND.  Although there are many factors involved in determining your risk for type 2 diabetes, learning your risk is quick and easy. Take the test and ask 10 friends to take it as well. Go to www.YMCA.net/diabetes for the quick risk test.

Our region currently possesses staggering health statistics—73% of adults overweight or obese; 45% with prediabetes—and your YMCA desires to have a positive impact in an effort to reverse the deadly trend.  The Greater Kingsport Family YMCA launched the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program for patients in our own community almost 2 years ago and we’ve seen tremendous success.

Tiphanie Bigham, the YMCA’s Healthy Living Program Director, has developed a passion for prevention through being educated on the risks of prediabetes, as well as the benefits of this program.  “It’s amazing to me that 1 out of 3 U.S. adults has prediabetes, but only 10% know they have it,” said Tiphanie.  “We want to raise awareness, educate our community, and then offer those at risk a way to prevent a disease that has no cure.  The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program works and we’re so excited to be able to offer it to people in our region.”

Here are some of the basics important for you to know:
• The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is part of the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program.
• The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program helps those at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles by eating healthier, increasing physical activity, and losing a modest amount of weight in order to reduce their chances of developing the disease.
• The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program structure is 16 weekly sessions, followed by 3 bi-weekly sessions, then the classes meet one time per month for the last 6 months.
• Based on research funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the program reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%.**  Furthermore, adults age 60 or over have a greater risk reduction of 71%.
(**This means that the number of cases of type 2 diabetes were reduced. This does not mean that people in the program reduce their individual risk by 58%.)

Sometimes once individuals become aware of a potential health crisis, it’s the most critical time to act because there’s a natural shift to urgent prevention.  Not only does the Y want to create awareness, but they now have a solution to offer those at risk with the support, tools and resources needed to change their future.  Take the test and change your life.  #yDiabetesPrevention

For more information on the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program:

Tiphanie Bigham, Healthy Living Program Director, tbigham@ymcakpt.org
Lauren Partin, Administrative Coordinator, prevention@ymcakpt.org

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