By: Susan Watkins, RD, CDE
November is National Diabetes Month, a time when people across the country team up to bring attention to diabetes in communities across our country.
An estimated 30 million people in the United States have diabetes and 80 million people have prediabetes. Undiagnosed or uncontrolled diabetes (blood sugar levels consistently out of range), can lead to serious complications such as heart disease, blindness, amputations, and nerve damage.
The earlier diabetes is diagnosed, and blood sugar levels reach your goal, the less risk for health problems later. The good news is with education and good control, people can live 50 years or more without a single complication.
Providence St. Joseph Health in Brea Calif., offers programs recognized by the American Diabetes Association to help patients learn how to self-manage their condition in fun and interactive ways.
Patients are not only taught about balancing their diet but also how to test their blood sugar, as well as look for and manage patterns. They learn the role of exercise, stress, pain, and medications in diabetes care. These life skills have been proven to support blood sugar control and prevent debilitating health problems.
Self-knowledge and care empower patients living with diabetes, such as with one of our patients Tom, who attended the diabetes program in Brea, Calif.
Tom was very fearful about his quality of life when he was first diagnosed. He said that learning more about the disease and how to manage it in the diabetes classes was key.
He says that the biggest change in his life is his activity level. He went from “maybe” exercising once or twice a week to now exercising 5-7 times a week!
He also eats fewer sweets and processed foods and more vegetables. Tom’s A1C dropped dramatically over 9 points (was over 14 and now is 5.3), with the elimination of one of his diabetes medications.
He also lost 24lbs and had significant drops in his cholesterol levels. Tom says his advice to others would be to get educated, be consistent, and do not give up.
It is no surprise that with quality diabetes education, weight loss and motivation, such as with Tom, that people can achieve such positive results.
Research has shown that weight loss (for those that are overweight) can help improve blood sugar levels, often even decreasing or eliminating the need for medications.
Providence St. Joseph Health offers the HMR weight loss program that has won the best, fast weight loss diet in the country for the last 4 years in a row.
This program has helped countless people gain control of their lives and most importantly learn to keep the weight off.
The even better news is that a weight loss as small as 5% of your body weight (just 10lbs for someone weighing 200lbs) can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes by 58%. So prevention is key.
Another success story is of the nationally recognized Providence St. Joseph Health program is Danielle.
Danielle was diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure. Her medical risk factors were on the rise. But through our HMR weight loss program in Fullerton, Calif. she lost 107 pounds.
Her blood sugar and blood pressure are now in a normal range, with a decrease in her medications. As with Tom, she is truly an inspiration and an example of how powerful lifestyle change can be.
For more information about the Center for Health Promotion’s diabetes, weight loss and other education programs in Orange County, Calif. call:
Brea: (714) 618-9500
Santa Ana: (714) 628-3242
Mission: (844) 699-4569
HMR Weight Management Program: (714) 446-5154
Susan Watkins is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She is the manager of the Center for Health Promotion at St. Joseph Health. She is the coordinator for St. Joseph’s ADA recognized diabetes program. She also manages their HMR weight program, which has been nationally recognized by US World News and Report as a best, fast weight loss diet in the country for the last 3 years. In addition to diabetes, she creates programs and educates patients on a variety of conditions such as IBS, heart disease, kidney disease, and liver conditions. On her free time, she loves Paddleboarding at the ocean, riding her bike and listening to music.