Type 2 diabetes is a persistent disease that can affect people of any age.
While it can have more far-reaching effects on older adults who are more likely to have additional health conditions, treatments get better too.
Brittany Sheppard, a pharmacist on Shenandoah University’s residency program, urged people to stay tuned.
“As our patients get older … I think we’ll see more of them have diabetes,” Sheppard said.
Although there is much that people can do to manage their diabetes through lifestyle changes, she also praised the recent data on diabetes drugs for their benefits in treating and preventing other medical problems, such as deterioration in kidney function and heart health.
Medicine for treating diabetes has come a long way in recent years and is even more beneficial than previously thought, she said.
Recognizing that the cost of medication can keep people from going down this route, she encouraged people to check with their doctor and pharmacist for inexpensive options.
“There are more options than you think,” she said.
It is of no use to doctors, patients who cannot afford to prescribe a drug, she said.
“If cost is an issue … there are ways around it,” Sheppard said.
Sheppard plans to speak about diabetes at this week’s Valley Health Community Wellness. She will provide tips on diabetes management and will open the remainder of the session for questions.
The diabetes care toolkit will take place on Thursday at 2 p.m. The program is organized by the Shenandoah University School of Pharmacy.
For more information, visit talhealthlink.com/wellness-fitness/virtual-health-fair/virtual-health-programs.
Winchester-based nutritionist Debbie Berg offers good news for those at risk of diabetes, saying Valley Health’s diabetes management program at Winchester Medical Center continues to help qualified adults manage their risk of developing diabetes through lifestyle and reduce accountability.
Now accepting its seventh cohort, the program offers two free 12-month programs each year, one in the fall and one in the spring.
The next one begins on April 15, said Berg, and is now taking in patients.
Information events will take place on April 1st and 8th.
The program, which usually focuses on people living in the Winchester and Front Royal area, is virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a phone number and a zoom option to allow people with or without internet access.
Another session of the Hampshire Memorial Hospital in Romney, West Virginia, will begin in May, Berg said. However, since it is also a virtual session, participants can call from anywhere.
The sessions at Winchester / Front Royal are held from noon to 1 p.m. to accommodate people who work and choose to have lunch, she said.
The program is primarily aimed at people who don’t already have diabetes but are at risk of developing it, Berg said.
“The vast majority of our attendees are retirees,” she said.
The year-long program, recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program and follows a standard proven curriculum, she said.
“[I]is very interactive, ”she said.
Classes meet about once a week for the first three months, she said, and then narrow less often per month.
Classes include grocery shopping, meal planning, and ways to manage stress, sleep, and heart health, among others.
“You will have the opportunity to gain accountability and peer support,” Berg said.
Many people lose some weight as part of the program, the most successful lose 5% to 7% of their body weight.
In addition, she said data from a large national study of the program’s effects showed that 58% of diabetics reversed their risk during their program year.
Instructors are diabetes counselors, she said.
In addition to Berg, nutritionists Beth Herriott and Jane O’Doherty will also work on the program.
For more information, please call 540-536-5108.