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Carolinas HealthCare System has concluded the first year of its large-scale effort to tackle Type 2 diabetes, engaging more than 50,000 community members in its diabetes prevention effort dubbed Pre-D Challenge: Reverse the Risk. Launched by Carolinas HealthCare System and the YMCA of Greater Charlotte to identify and support individuals with prediabetes, the Pre-D Challenge aims to reduce the region’s rate of Type 2 diabetes by preventing the dangerous disease before it starts.
The Pre-D Challenge offers community members a diabetes risk assessment, free diabetes blood sugar testing, and the opportunity for at-risk individuals to enroll in a diabetes prevention program recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When the effort launched in November 2013, Carolinas HealthCare System and the YMCA of Greater Charlotte pledged to engage 50,000 adults to complete a diabetes risk assessment within one year, with a goal of identifying 10,000 people at risk for developing prediabetes or diabetes.
As of Nov. 1, 2014, the Pre-D Challenge has achieved notable and exciting results:
“To tackle a national health epidemic like Type 2 diabetes, we know that prevention is the real key to success. Through the Pre-D Challenge, we’re driving beyond diabetes management to engage in the critical task of prevention, identifying those at risk and arming them with the tools they need to stop the disease before it starts,” said Roger Ray, MD, executive vice president and chief physician executive of Carolinas HealthCare System. “This type of large-scale, proactive prevention effort by a healthcare system is one of the first of its kind in the country, and can serve as a promising model for making a meaningful impact on a devastating chronic disease.”
"Knowledge is power," said Sue Dissinger, YMCA of Greater Charlotte senior director of chronic disease prevention and intervention. "We celebrate the reach of this tremendous first step toward diabetes prevention in our community. With our health partners at Carolinas HealthCare System, we are determined to continue our efforts to engage those identified in the Pre-D Challenge in programs known to reduce the risk for chronic disease."
Type 2 diabetes, a disease that is characterized by high blood sugar levels and can lead to stroke, heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and other complications, is a national public health epidemic, affecting one in 11 people nationwide. Another one in three American adults has prediabetes, the serious – and often silent – precursor to the disease. As there are often no symptoms of prediabetes, a staggering 90 percent of those with the condition are unaware that they have it.
“Prediabetes is serious; studies show that as many as one in three people with the condition will go on to develop diabetes within five years if no health changes are made,” said Zeev Neuwirth, MD, president and chief clinical executive of Carolinas HealthCare System Medical Group. “But we’re taking advantage of the great news that if prediabetes is caught early enough, the progression to diabetes can be slowed or reversed with lifestyle changes. And the program we’ve trained our staff members to deliver, the CDC-developed diabetes prevention program, is evidence based and proven to help reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.”
Many community members have changed the course of their health through the Pre-D Challenge. Charlotte resident Steve Garrett was shocked to learn he had prediabetes, so to take control of his health, he decided to join a diabetes prevention program offered through the Pre-D Challenge. Since joining the program, Garrett has lost 11 pounds, improved his nutrition and exercise habits – and no longer has prediabetes. “You might feel healthy and not realize you’re at risk for getting diabetes,” said Garrett. “But if you know where you stand, then you can do something about it. I’m grateful I had the chance to take control of my health.”
Community members may continue to access the diabetes risk assessment and program resources by visiting CarolinasHealthCare.org/Diabetes. Moving forward, the initiative will expand to offer a broader array of diabetes prevention and management options.
“We’ve made a big impact in diabetes prevention through this initiative, and now we look forward to offering people an even wider suite of tools that range from keeping them healthy to treating their diabetes,” said Dr. Ray. “Access to these types of comprehensive health programs is a tremendous value for our patients at Carolinas HealthCare System, and a significant contribution to our community at large.”