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Integris enrolling participants for diabetes prevention program

Enid News & Eagle - 8/24/2017

Aug. 24--About one in 10 adults in Oklahoma suffers from diabetes, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The rate of diabetes diagnoses for adults in the state has more than doubled since the mid-1990s.

Diabetes educators are hoping to reverse that trend, with a year-long support and healthy lifestyles program aimed at preventing development of the disease.

Linda Yauk, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at Integris Bass Pavilion Diabetes Center, has worked as a diabetes educator for 25 years.

She said in 2015 she realized a new approach was needed, beyond just providing education, because it "seemed like the people we were seeing with diabetes were getting younger and younger."

She applied for a grant through CDC's National Diabetes Prevention Program in 2015. Integris was awarded the grant, which paved the way for Yauk to start an intense, year-long prevention program.

Since then, two classes of about 10 people each have completed the program.

Participants learn how to eat healthy, add physical activity to their routine, manage stress, stay motivated and solve problems that can get in the way of healthy changes. Diabetes prevention groups meet once a week for 16 weeks, then once a month for six months to maintain healthy lifestyle changes.

Yauk said the program has had about 95 percent retention since it started, in part because she stresses up front that it is a long program that requires dedication and perseverance.

"They know going in this is going to be a year-long commitment," Yauk said. "We lay it down for them up front: 'If you don't think you can come for the full year, we need to rethink this.'"

Yauk said the formula for preventing diabetes isn't a secret, or complicated.

"The bottom line is we need to eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, less refined foods and saturated fats, sit less and move more," Yauk said. "It's really that simple."

Pamela Baggett, a registered and licensed dietitian with St. Mary's Regional Medical Center, sees patients who already have been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes.

She said common-sense prevention is needed to reduce the risk of diabetes, especially for people with a family history of the disease, high blood sugar levels, or who are overweight.

"It's just good health practices," Baggett said, "whether we're worried about diabetes, our heart, or even if our joints hurt because we're overweight. The diabetic diet is really what we all should follow."

Baggett said people often develop diabetes without recognizing the warning signs, in part because they don't follow good preventive measures like healthy eating, regular exercise and an annual physical.

"The thing with diabetes is we usually don't hurt," Baggett said. "With diabetes, sometimes we can end up with a pretty high blood sugar and not have any symptoms, and might have just adjusted to it."

Yauk said the goal of the prevention program at Integris is to get people to change their lifestyles, and reduce their risk, before they develop diabetes.

"One in three American adults has prediabetes, so the need for prevention has never been greater," Yauk said.

People with prediabetes -- higher-than-normal blood sugar levels -- are five to 15 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with normal blood glucose levels, according to the CDC. The same research shows that people with prediabetes who lost 5 to 7 percent of their body weight reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent.

"Small changes can add up to a big difference," said Sarah Wamsley, a registered dietitian at Integris Bass. "Working with a trained lifestyle coach who provides guidance, Integris participants are making lasting changes together."

Yauk said achieving those lasting changes requires more than just knowledge of the statistics.

To achieve long-term change, the program focuses on setting and regularly reviewing achievable goals, and by providing coaching and accountability.

It's all aimed at producing a positive experience, Yauk said, and increasing participants' self-confidence in their ability to live healthier lives.

"People have tried so many times, and not been successful," she said, "so they don't have a lot of confidence in their ability to change."

That self-confidence is attained by providing support among the group members, Yauk said.

"The goal is to get them to rely on each other, then become accountable to themselves and to their peers," Yauk said. "It's not an easy task. They need to feel really confident with each other, because it's a lot of sharing."

CDC is hoping more sites will take up the diabetes prevention program, and more participants will follow through with positive steps to prevent diabetes.

Nationwide implementation of the program could save the U.S. health care system $5.7 billion and prevent about 885,000 future cases of type 2 diabetes, according to CDC figures.

Participants now are being enrolled for the next session of the diabetes prevention program. Yauk said people diagnosed with prediabetes, high body mass index, or a previous diagnosis of juvenile or gestational diabetes are encouraged to apply.

Participation in the program is free of charge.

Prospective participants are encouraged to attend one of two orientation classes at Integris Heart and Vascular Institute, 707 S. Monroe: 6 p.m.Sept. 12 and 6 p.m.Sept. 14.

For additional information or questions, call Yauk at (580) 249-4104.


(c)2017 the Enid News & Eagle (Enid, Okla.)

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