Wyoming Dept. of Health encourages diabetes education
The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) wants families to learn more about prediabetes, the warning signs of diabetes and controlling diabetes to help avoid serious and costly health complications.
“When diabetes is unrecognized or not properly controlled, the health impacts are significant,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH. “Our goals are simple: improve health outcomes and connect people to the educational and medical resources they need to live healthier, happier lives.”
According to 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System estimates, Wyoming has about 39,000 adults living with diabetes. An additional 35,000 residents have been told they have prediabetes, a condition in which higher than normal blood glucose levels may lead to type 2 diabetes. Harrist said many more residents may have either diabetes or prediabetes without realizing it.
“Cowboy Up to Prevent” is a new campaign offered by the WDH Chronic Disease Prevention Program (CDPP). Free prediabetes awareness materials are available for healthcare professionals and funding is available for organizations interested in evidence-based diabetes and hypertension prevention and self‐management programs. Designed for adults, the programs help people gain the confidence and motivation they need to take care of their health, as well as learn new skills to prevent diabetes or better manage their chronic health conditions. Programs are offered around the state by trained experts in either community and/or medical settings.
Through education about prediabetes, the campaign looks to lower cases of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke in Wyoming. Residents are encouraged to take a short online risk test at Doihaveprediabetes.org. A blood glucose test is recommended for anyone scoring high on the risk assessment.
The campaign also asks healthcare providers to screen, test and refer individuals with abnormal blood sugar levels to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-recognized diabetes prevention program. A list of CDC-recognized programs in Wyoming can be found at https://nccd.cdc.gov/DDT_DPRP/Registry.aspx.
CDC-approved diabetes prevention programs promote lifestyle changes that can reverse prediabetes or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. People with prediabetes who take part can cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent (71 percent for people over 60 years old). Participants may lose 5 to 7 percent of their body weight through healthier eating and 150 minutes of physical activity a week. Those who complete a type 2 diabetes prevention lifestyle change program were 1/3 less likely to develop type 2 diabetes after 10 years.
The WDH CDPP allows eligible adults to participate in the National Diabetes Prevention Program at no cost. Learn more at https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention/index.html.
Harrist noted more than 29 million Americans have diabetes, with a new person diagnosed every 17 seconds. Nearly 10 percent of the U.S. population is affected.
“Keeping diabetes under control can improve the quality of life, and that’s exactly what we want,” Harrist said.
For more information, visit https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/prevention/chronicdisease/ or call (307) 777-3579 or (307) 777-7356.