Diabetes prevention efforts kick into high gear in WI
November is National Diabetes Month, spotlighting a disease affecting millions of Americans.
In Wisconsin, state health officials say more than 525,000 adults are diabetic, and one in three has prediabetes.
Jill Kietzke, registered nurse and executive director of Wisconsin-based Trollway Diabetes, is focused on prevention education. Whether you've been diagnosed or are a likely candidate to develop the disease, many of the same tools to manage your health still apply.
For exercise, Kietzke stressed you don't have to go all out.
"Even if that means walking around the house during TV commercials, lifting cans if they don't have access to a gym or even [to] buy weights," Kietzke advised. "You can always be active."
As for meals, she suggested filling half your plate with non-starchy vegetables, and at least one-quarter with grains, as well as some protein.
While there's no perfect diet solution, Kietzke pointed out moderation is key. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a lifestyle change program health experts reported has been successful at helping people avoid diabetes.
A big challenge for people with diabetes is the rising cost of insulin. A recent study found one in five adults who need insulin are rationing it to save money.
Dr. Nicole Brady, chief medical officer for employer and individual business at UnitedHealthcare, said pharmaceutical companies set prescription drug prices, including insulin, and the lack of competition can drive up cost. She added it is putting the drug out of reach for many patients.
"Many of them may even have to make decisions such as, 'Am I going to buy food for my family this week, or am I going to spend money on my insulin?' So, it puts them in a very precarious position," Brady observed.
Beginning January 1st, UHC eligible commercial members will actually pay zero out of pocket for short and long-acting insulin. Brady noted they hope this reduces the risk of expensive hospitalizations.