Monday, November 05, 2018
by Patty Johnson • email@example.com
BJC | In September 2016, Laura Ostrander learned that she was pre-diabetic. The Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital human resources coordinator got the news at the employee health fair at BJWCH and, initially, was in a bit of denial. But it didn’t take long for her to process the information — and make some major lifestyle changes.
“I started looking up symptoms of diabetes and pre-diabetes and started checking ‘yes’ to a lot of symptoms,” she says. “I realized that if I started being healthier, I could start feeling better. It seems like common sense now, but it was a big lightbulb moment back then!”
By the following month, Ostrander was eating healthier and tracking what she ate in MyFitnessPal. She also began walking every day during lunch, weather permitting, and working out with a personal trainer one or two days a week.
Through the changes she’s made, Ostrander has lost more than 50 pounds. And, this year when she attended the BJWCH health fair, she got good news about her blood glucose measures. “As of the health fair from September 2018, my A1C is still solidly in the normal range,” she says.
Enter for your chance to win
Ostrander is just one of many BJC employees who’ve chosen a path to avoid diabetes — but the first step is awareness. In recognition of November as American Diabetes Month, BJC Help for Your Health is encouraging all BJC employees to:
Employees who take a quiz about diabetes and sign a pledge are eligible to win a meal-kit service. One winner from each hospital and BJC’s shared services/service organizations will be randomly chosen to win a convenient, Blue Apron meal-kit service featuring healthy menus delivered to home. The kit includes the equivalent of three meals per week for two people, for four weeks.
The diabetes awareness quiz and pledge form are now available and must be completed by Nov. 30. Employees can take the quiz and enter online or complete and submit a paper form.
What is diabetes — and what is pre-diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood and urine.
In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas no longer makes insulin and, therefore, blood glucose can’t enter the cells to be used for energy. In type 2 diabetes, either the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin or the body is unable to use insulin correctly.
Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but aren’t high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. Other names for pre-diabetes are impaired glucose tolerance and impaired fasting glucose.
According to the American Diabetes Association, in 2015, 84.1 million Americans age 18 and older had pre-diabetes. There are no clear symptoms of pre-diabetes, so it’s possible to have it and not know it. People usually find out they have pre-diabetes when being tested for diabetes.
Although people with pre-diabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, early treatment can sometimes return blood glucose levels to the normal range.
Common symptoms of diabetes include:
These symptoms of diabetes are typical; however, some people with type 2 diabetes have symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed.
Diabetes increases the risk for many serious health problems, and there’s a link between diabetes, heart disease and stroke. In fact, two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke, also called cardiovascular disease.
The good news is that good diabetes control can reduce the risks for diabetes complications, including heart and blood vessel disease. With the correct treatment and recommended lifestyle changes, many people with diabetes are able to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes complications, including cardiovascular disease.
Who’s at risk for diabetes?
You are more likely to develop diabetes if you:
Where can I get help to reduce my risk of diabetes?
BJC employees have several options to reduce their risk of diabetes:
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