Recognizing the Importance of Prevention on World Diabetes Day
Diabetes is one of the fastest growing chronic conditions around the world and disproportionately affects those from marginalized and underserved communities. In an attempt to combat the burden of diabetes, this World Diabetes Day the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is focusing on the benefits of a supportive family, friend and healthcare network in preventing and managing this growing epidemic.
In 2017, approximately 435 million adults ages 20-79 were living with diabetes worldwide. By 2045, this is expected to rise to 629 million people. While type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, there are many modifiable risk factors that can influence the development of type 2 diabetes, such as regular exercise and diet.
While type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90 to 95 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes in adults, over 50% of all cases are preventable.
The goal of 2019’s World Diabetes Day is to raise awareness about the impact diabetes has on patients, those at risk of developing diabetes and patients’ families. In 94 countries, more than 650 events are taking place today aiming to reach 1 billion people worldwide.
Modifiable Risk Factors
Many factors contribute to the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A person’s weight, level of physical activity, and diet all have a significant impact in preventing type 2 diabetes.
Other risk factors that are associated with type 2 diabetes may include:
- High blood pressure
- Ethnocultural background and family history (if your family member has it)
- High BMI or overweight (especially in the tummy)
- Over 40 years of age
- History of gestational diabetes
- Poverty and limited access to health care
Know your risk of type 2 diabetes with the IDF’s online risk assessment.
Published clinical trials from around the globe have shown that healthy behaviors, including regular physical activity and a healthy diet can delay or completely prevent type 2 diabetes by directly improving glycemic control.
The IDF suggests a healthy diet (such as the Mediterranean diet) and at least 30-45 minutes of activity, three to five days per week. This could include anything from going for a walk to playing soccer.
Other IDF recommendations for preventing diabetes include:
- Choosing water, coffee, or tea instead of sugary drinks like fruit juice and soda
- Eating at least three servings of vegetables every day
- Eating up to three servings of fresh fruit every day
- Limiting your alcohol intake to a maximum of two drinks per day
- Choosing peanut butter instead of chocolate spread or jam
- Choosing whole-grain breads, rice, or pasta
While raising awareness for diabetes, IDF aims to highlight the effect it can have on the entire family.
Health Coaching through NexJ Connected Wellness
Chronic disease management accounts for 75% of the nearly $8 trillion global healthcare cost. With these expenditures on the rise, NexJ Health believes that the most efficient and cost-effective way to offset the rise in chronic disease is to empower patients, with the support of their families, friends, and healthcare professionals, to actively participate in managing their own chronic condition(s). By engaging those at risk of developing type 2 diabetes towards a healthier lifestyle through personal health coaching and modifiable behavior change, NexJ Health targets diabetes at the prevention stage, helping to lower downstream costs.
When managing a chronic condition, patients benefit from direct and consistent contact with healthcare professionals, with personalized support and guidance. At NexJ Health, our health coaches support patients in reaching their own personal health goals by establishing a strong therapeutic alliance and creating a personalized wellness plan. Health coaches work closely with each patient to help them understand the relationship between their behaviors, the biometric impact, and how they feel.
We also encourage families—and people who support our care—to play an active role in monitoring the health of their loved ones. Our families, friends and health team, play a key role in promoting a healthy lifestyle. Through NexJ Health’s virtual care platform, NexJ Connected Wellness, patients can explicitly add their friends, family, advocates, and healthcare professionals to the platform as part of their circle of care to help motivate and monitor the patient’s progress.
The support of coaches and family members are what make the difference in the prevention and management of chronic disease like type 2 diabetes.
Source: All facts regarding global diabetes statistics came from IDF’s website and their event site at WorldDiabetesDay.org.