Kathleen Hebdon, RN and Sheri Plummer, RN of the Bertrand Chaffee Hospital Diabetes Education team have completed the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) Lifestyle Coach certification. This complements the Diabetes Self-Management accreditation that the hospital has achieved, and will result in additional services that can be offered to patients and covered by most insurance plans.
Studies have shown that patients who attend weekly sessions in diabetes programs for an extended period of time have been rates of prevention because of the healthy lifestyle habits they develop. After an initial 16 weeks, patients are encouraged to attend a monthly support group. Those who commit to attendance up to a full year have the lowest rates of converting to a diabetes diagnosis.
As instructors, Hebdon and Plummer hear myths and misinformation about diabetes reflected back to them from patients. “Some people think that they just have ‘a little diabetes,” said Hebdon. “But the prevalent thought now is that once someone is diagnosed with pre-diabetes, about 50 percent of their pancreatic function is lost, and by the time they are diabetic, that ratio is 80 percent.”
Diabetes causes more deaths in the United States than breast cancer, and type 2 diabetes is very much a lifestyle disease. “People are resistant to starting diabetes treatment,” said Sheri Plummer, RN. “And they give excuses like ‘I’m too old’ or ‘I’m too out-of-shape’ – but they would not hesitate to start a cancer treatment!” She explained, “Pancreatic changes are permanent and progress with age, and we want our patients to start treatment and lifestyle changes immediately to preserve pancreatic function and delay or prevent having to take insulin.”
Diabetes can be treated by three modalities: medication, diet and activity. “Without exercise and activity, you are missing out on a third of the possible treatment regimen,” said Hebdon. “Our programs can help patients overcome barriers with alternative exercises for all conditions, like arthritis, back pain and immobility, and ways to work those into everyday life.”
For information about upcoming Diabetes Education programs, call (716) 592-9643.