Prediabetes, the precursor to type 2 diabetes, is a national epidemic that affects more than 1 in 3 Americans. However, 90 percent of prediabetics don't even know they have the condition.
As part of an effort to raise greater awareness around diabetes prevention, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross) is launching a campaign called "Reverse It." The campaign focuses on helping Minnesotans identify their individual risk factors for prediabetes as well as the steps they can take to lessen the likelihood of getting type 2 diabetes.
Prediabetes indicates a higher-than-normal level of glucose (blood sugar), but not high enough for a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. The health impact of type 2 diabetes can include serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and blindness.
"Oftentimes, a diagnosis of prediabetes has patients seeing only a path towards a condition with many long-term complications," said Dr. Glenn Pomerantz, chief medical officer at Blue Cross. "Type 2 diabetes, however, is a preventable disease, and prediabetes is a curable condition. Taking action as soon as possible can dramatically improve a person's prognosis."
The "Reverse It" campaign is built around a simple seven-question quiz developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that can help people evaluate their risk of prediabetes. The assessment also includes helpful steps people can take to avoid type 2 diabetes and even reverse early indicators of prediabetes.
"The heavy emotional and financial burden caused by diabetes is felt by millions of Americans every day," said Dr. Pomerantz.
"The numbers continue to grow at alarming rates. Every 23 seconds, someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with diabetes. Our prediabetes awareness campaign is just the start of a multi-year effort Blue Cross is making to lessen the burden of diabetes in individuals and within our society as a whole."
According to Blue Cross data*, diabetes accounts for 6.3 percent of loss of good health in Minnesota.
The Twin Cities area has the lowest diabetes impact, at 5.2 percent, while northwestern counties are hit the hardest with an impact of 8.1 percent.
Minnesota's northwestern counties also demonstrate a significant disparity in the impact of diabetes on the health of men (11.1 percent), which is nearly twice that of women (5.5 percent).
In lower populated counties, such as Roseau, Kittson and Lake of the Woods, men may be less inclined to travel long distances for preventive care and diabetes education.
Beyond the devastating health impact of premature death and disability, diabetes and prediabetes cost Minnesotans an estimated $4.4 billion each year (American Diabetes Association).
Fortunately, those who are prediabetic can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes with early monitoring and simple lifestyle changes.
With its strong commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility and making a healthy difference in people's lives, Blue Cross is working with leading diabetes experts to bring online diabetes prevention plans to people through their employer health coverage.
Omada Health is one such expert that administered its online Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) to thousands of Blue Cross members across dozens of employer groups in Minnesota. Over the course of the program, participants lost an average of 4.4 percent body weight.
Members who completed at least nine lessons lost an average of 5 percent of their body weight, a level associated with reducing type 2 diabetes risk by more than 50 percent.
Take the prediabetes quiz and learn more about the "Reverse It" campaign and Omada Health by visiting BlueCrossMN.com/ReverseIt
*According to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Health Index. The Index is a unique measurement of America's health that quantifies how a range of diseases and conditions impact longevity and quality of life. The Index leverages 1.8 billion claims for over 40 million commercially-insured Americans under 65, excluding Medicare and Medicaid.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, with headquarters in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan, was chartered in 1933 as Minnesota's first health plan and continues to carry out its charter mission today: to promote a wider, more economical and timely availability of health services for the people of Minnesota. A nonprofit, taxable organization, Blue Cross is the largest health plan based in Minnesota, covering 2.9 million members in Minnesota and nationally through its health plans or plans administered by its affiliated companies. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, headquartered in Chicago. Go to bluecrossmn.com to learn more.
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