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YMCA Offers Free Prediabetes Screenings for Seniors

BY KIM DAME Hernando today correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: April 4, 2013 at 11:48 AM

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Being diagnosed with prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes doesn’t have to mean a long-term condition. In fact, many who take their health seriously have been able to reverse their type 2 diabetes symptoms by learning to live a healthy balanced lifestyle.

Prediabetes is a serious condition that will likely lead to Type 2 diabetes if not controlled.

According to the American Diabetes Association, 79 million people are diagnosed with pre-diabetes, which is defined as “blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.”

Prediabetes often preempts the diagnosis of diabetes and can be a serious cause for concern. For instance, those with prediabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and may actually be suffering with problems from diabetes before it even reaches the Type 2 status. And research indicates some long-term damage may occur during prediabetes that could affect the heart and circulatory system.

Yet people with prediabetes often don’t have symptoms or the symptoms go unnoticed because they are slow to develop.

Research has proven that symptoms of diabetes can be reversed by changes in nutrition and activity if a concentrated plan is in place.

On Tuesday, April 8, the YMCA of the Suncoast will hold a prediabetes screening at the Hernando County Health Department for Medicare Fee-for-Service Recipients at no cost.

The event will be held at the Hernando County Health Department at 7551 Forest Oaks Blvd. from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Those interested in the screening are encouraged to pre-register by calling 1-866-935-5462 or by visiting and using registration code: He-88362-3.

According to a press release from the YMCA of the Suncoast; “Research has shown that programs like the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program can reduce incidence of diabetes among Medicare-age individuals by about 70 percent (compared to 58 percent for younger individuals). The program has been identified as a promising approach in lowering Medicare expenditures.”

The YMCA of the Suncoast is one of 17 YMCAs participating in a “demonstration project to assess the effectiveness of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program” to lower the incidence of type 2 diabetes. If successful, millions of dollars would be saved in future health care costs.

The prediabetes screening is being offered to help qualify seniors for the program.

The screenings will be done at no cost to Medicare Part A and/or Part B members who have their Medicare ID cards with them.

“We have offered the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program for the past 10 months and we’ve seen great results and will now be able to reach even more people in need,” said Scott Goyer, CEO of the YMCA of the Suncoast. “Participating in this project will not only help us further prevent diabetes in a population that is at a great risk, but it will help shape the future of how prevention programs are delivered and paid for across the nation.”

By providing the opportunity to screen for prediabetes, qualifying seniors can then begin the life saving process of delaying or even eliminating their risk for Type 2 Diabetes.

According to the YMCA of the Suncoast, “Lifestyle changes such as eating healthier, increasing physical activity and losing a modest amount of weight can prevent or delay development of Type 2 diabetes in those at high risk for the disease.

The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program can help prediabetics adopt and maintain healthy habits to help improve their overall health and well-being and reduce their risk.

The prediabetes screening will test levels of A1C in the blood. If the number falls between 5.7 and 6.4, the patient is considered to be prediabetic. “It’s a really great test,” Dodge said, “because it doesn’t require fasting.”

“We are hoping to identify all those who have prediabetes so we can enroll them in the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program,” said Summer Dodge. The program was launched in May 2012.

The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is part of the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program and is a “12-month evidence based program that includes a 16-week core sessions followed by monthly maintenance sessions. Delivered in a classroom format, the program provides a support environment in small groups. Long term goals of the program include reducing participant’s body weight by seven % and increasing physical activity to 150 minutes a week.

“It is a year-long program that consists of educational information in lifestyle balance that includes healthy eating and physical activity,” Dodge said. The program was designed to assist those who have prediabetes in reversing or preventing the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

In just eight months, the program has already shown amazing results.

Those who cannot attend the screening and would like to participate in the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program can find out if they qualify by contacting Summer Dodge at 727-772-9622.

For more information about the YMCA of the Suncoast Diabetes Screenings for Seniors, contact Summer Dodge at (727) 772-9622. You can schedule an appointment for the screening by calling 866-935-5462 and using the registration code: He-88362-3.

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