According to the 2011 Delaware Behavioral Risk Factor Survey 66,000 Delawareans have diabetes, a leading cause of kidney failure, adult blindness, lower-limb amputations, heart disease and stroke. This chronic disease requires extensive daily management, on-going medical monitoring, and costly, lifelong treatment.
More than 47,000 Delawareans have pre-diabetes, a condition in which a person's glucose level is higher than normal, but not high enough for the diagnosis of diabetes. Pre-diabetes is the term for the pre-stage of Type 2 diabetes. People with pre-diabetes are at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes. During November, American Diabetes Month, the Division of Public Health encourages Delawareans to take measures to prevent this disease.
Delawareans with diabetes or pre-diabetes can control these conditions or reduce their risk for developing Type 2 diabetes through increased physical activity, eating a healthy diet and other lifestyle modifications. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Diabetes Prevention Program, people who made healthy eating choices, increased their physical activity, strengthened coping skills, and benefited from group support showed a marked reduction in their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
“Getting started by walking is a step in the right direction,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH director. “It’s not necessary to become an athlete to benefit from physical activity.”
The Delaware Diabetes Prevention and Control Program offers a statewide six-week free Diabetes Self-Management Program, an evidence-based program developed by Stanford University. In weekly two-and-a-half hour classes, participants learn the importance of eating healthy, getting physically active, taking medications as prescribed, understanding and managing common symptoms, and learning the overall day-to-day skills and tools for managing this chronic disease.
For more information on this program or other services, call the Delaware's Division of Public Health's Diabetes Prevention and Control Program at 302-744-1020.