While most of our thoughts this year have been on the COVID-19 pandemic, diabetes has been described as a local epidemic here in Monterey County. November is National Diabetes Month, a time when communities across the country bring awareness and attention to diabetes. Diabetes is a disease that prevents your body from properly using energy from the food you eat, and over time, it can cause serious health problems including blindness, heart disease and kidney failure.
Right now, 45% of Monterey County adults have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. Your body does not make or use insulin well, and you may need to take pills or insulin to help control your diabetes. Prediabetes means your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not yet high enough to be type 2 diabetes.
But enough with the bad news. There is some good news. Simple changes in our daily lives such as diet and exercise can help make better choices for healthier living and also help delay or prevent type 2 diabetes. According to the National Diabetes Prevention Program (and the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula), “people who made certain lifestyle changes cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the most common in adults, by 58 percent. People over 60 cut it even more — by 71 percent. Participants lost 5–7 percent of their weight through healthier eating and spent about 150 minutes, less than three hours a week, on physical activity.”
This month, Community Health Innovations (CHI), our sister company, launched a Don’t Feed the Diabetes awareness campaign in partnership with Montage Health and Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System. The goal of this initiative is to work together as a community to fight “the beast” that is diabetes. It’s an opportunity for seniors in Monterey County to make meaningful changes in your lifestyle that can reduce risk of diabetes at no cost! The website has great information that we encourage you to check it out; including a risk assessment quiz, recipes, infographics, recommended apps, a daily food journal and more!
There are many diabetes resources for seniors in Monterey County:
- CHI Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP)
- Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System (SVMHS)
- Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula (CHOMP)
- 211 Monterey County Diabetes Resources
In addition, Aspire Health Plan works with our members’ doctors to ensure that diabetes monitoring and education services are provided. We can assign members with high-risk diabetes to their own care manager, who can assist and guide them following a coordinated care plan. If you are an Aspire Health Plan member and you have any questions, give Member Services a call at (855) 570-1600. TTY users call 711.