Health Matters: Diabetes Prevention Program

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark.– Diabetes numbers keep growing in Arkansas, and unfortunately, doctors say the pandemic is making the problem worse.

“Trouble for people accessing their health care and their support teams so on and so forth,” says Dr. Chandra Lingisetty with Baptist Health.

With more people putting their annual health appointment on hold, doctors worry this will lead to more problems down the road. While staying home to be safe is best, getting in regular exercise is important too.

“Genetic and maybe environmental factors, lack of exercise, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle are the main reasons for type 2 diabetes. And type one diabetes is mostly genetic,” says Dr. Lingisetty.

Dr. Chandra Lingisetty with Baptist Health says 15 percent of Arkansas adults are diabetic. They’re just as worried about folks who are at high risk of developing the disease. That group makes up about 35 percent. To put that into persepective, “Every other adult Arkansan you bump into is either a diabetic or a pre-diabetic. So 50 percent of our population has something to do with it. That’s a lot,” says Dr. Lingisetty.

Baptist Health Hospital is doing something about it through the various programs it offers. Classes focus on diabetes management and prevention. Sharon Aureli has a family history of diabetes and signed up.

“I personally achieved a weight loss of 20 pounds. My A1C lowered from 5.8 to 5.4,” says Sharon Aureli, Clinical Quality Manager.

From nutrition and exercise classes to support groups, Aureli credits it all for the positive changes she’s seen in her life.

“In our particular group, we were able to stop the possibility of these people getting diabetes through the weight loss, through the exercise and to me that is profound,” says Aureli.

The hospital hopes to reach more people who are at risk because not only is diabetes a health problem in Arkansas, but from an economic impact, Dr. Lingisetty estimates diabetes and pre-diabetes intervention costs will reach 5 billion dollars in the next few years.

For more information on the program, visit https://www.baptist-health.com/services/diabetes-care/

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