UK HealthCast: Tami Ross discusses Diabetes Prevention Program
Tami Ross, RD – coordinator of UK Healthcare's National Diabetes Prevention Program and certified diabetes care and education specialist with our Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center – joined UK HealthCast to discuss what it means to have prediabetes.
Ross is the author of “What Do I Eat Now? A Guide to Eating Well with Diabetes or Prediabetes.”
What is prediabetes?
Prediabetes is a very common condition. As the name implies, pre comes before type 2 diabetes, which is what many people know as adult-onset diabetes. That's what it used to be called, but now we know type 2 diabetes can occur at any age. So, prediabetes is where blood sugars are higher than normal, but they're not up into that diabetes range.
But the thing is, prediabetes can cause problems if it's not managed. And so, here at Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center, we have the National Diabetes Prevention Program that really focuses on proven lifestyle changes that can help prevent or delay prediabetes from going on to develop into type 2 diabetes.
What are the signs and symptoms of prediabetes?
There (are) really no clear symptoms, and that's why it often will go undetected. People may not have any of those symptoms that we would associate with diabetes, like increased thirst or fatigue. And so, because there's often no symptoms, it often flies under the radar. So, when folks go in for their annual blood work and find out, "Oh, you have prediabetes," what that means is their blood sugars are higher than normal, but they're not up into that diabetes range.
A lot of people may not take it seriously. They think, "Oh, it's not a big deal." But what I would tell our listeners is, don't let prediabetes fool you. It actually can increase the risk for not only type 2 diabetes, but heart disease and stroke. I think we want listeners to know prediabetes is real and it's very common. But the important thing is, it's reversible. There's over a 50 percent chance with prediabetes that we can turn back the clock and halt it or halt the progression to type 2 diabetes.
Tell us about UK HealthCare’s Diabetes Prevention Program
It is a proven lifestyle change program designed to prevent or delay prediabetes from going on to develop into type 2 diabetes. This is a program that is nationally accredited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have gone through rigorous criteria to be able to offer this program, and what it really focuses on is losing a modest amount of weight and getting regular physical activity.
I think about prediabetes as coming to a fork in the road. If you ignore it and go to the left, your risk for type 2 diabetes goes up. But if you take the fork to the right and you lose a modest amount of weight, you get regular physical activity, then your risk goes down. It's life changing for our participants that go through this program.
It's a 12-month program. Initially, we'll meet weekly (to) get the core content and behavior changes started. Then, the visits begin to spread out to once or twice a month. At UK, with our Diabetes Prevention Program, we have diabetes care and education specialists that are trained as lifestyle coaches to really facilitate this program and lead our participants to change their habits and eat healthier, be more active and lose a little bit of weight along the way.
In total, participants in Barnstable Brown’s Diabetes Prevention Program have lost 933 pounds and averaged nearly three hours of physical activity per week at program completion.
You can listen to the full podcast with Tami Ross below or in your favorite podcast app. (This episode was originally produced in Jan. 2022).