AMC Health Blog

November is National Diabetes Month in the United States – Why?

By: Jonathan Leviss, MD FACP

November is “National Diabetes Month” in the US.  Why?

  • In 2010, Diabetes was the 7th leading cause of death in the US
  • Diabetes radically increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, lower extremity amputation, kidney failure, blindness, and needing more expensive medical care
  • We need to help people with Diabetes, their care givers, and their health care providers be more aware of improved approaches to Diabetes management

AND…there are lots of new ways to help people with Diabetes control their disease, live healthier and happier lives, and lower their health care costs.

The ADA has long promoted Diet and Exercise essential interventions for people living with Diabetes. Any approach to Diabetes management requires the person to be engaged and able to adhere to a program at home, in between provider appointments.

As an internist, I regularly discuss exercise, diet, and medication plans with patients with Diabetes, but once at home, most struggle to follow recommendations reviewed during an office visit.  It’s hard for people to monitor their glucose, what they eat, and how much energy they burn, and then know how make changes, especially while living independently.  This is even true for patients who test their glucose daily or log their exercise and medications.  Now, we are seeing solutions for these challenges.

The Weight Watchers approach to a Diabetic diet, supported by virtual technologies to engage patients wherever they need, has now been shown to improve glucose control (reducing HbA1c), as published in Obesity (2016).  Weight Watchers’ virtual interactive tools help people with Diabetes work with a weight loss team to follow a diet and monitor caloric intake, without requiring people to physically go to a Weight Watchers center…and their Diabetes improves!

Similarly, for people who need more than improved diet to manage their Diabetes, NYC Health + Hospitals reported that NYC H+H uses remote patient monitoring to help patients work virtually with a care team to better understand their Diabetes and adhere to their diet, exercise, medication and care plan.  With RPM, NYC H+H patients also achieved lower rates of hospital and ED admissions.

Both programs show that virtual technologies enable better collaboration between a care team and people with Diabetes…producing improved glycemic control, the key to living healthier with Diabetes.

So let’s celebrate National Diabetes Month by helping people with Diabetes be healthier…without requiring frequent visits to a doctor’s office!

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