"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Changing diabetes treatment

Technology might help provide more supportive, efficient and effective look after diabetes, a serious contributor to heart disease.

About one in 11 adults on this country has diabetes — a chronic, costly condition closely linked to heart disease. Lifestyle changes that encourage maintaining a healthy diet foods, exercising, and shedding weight are the cornerstones of managing each problems. But making these changes can often feel overwhelming and frustrating, especially for individuals with diabetes. They also need to watch their blood sugar levels, that are affected by their weight loss plan and exercise.

In addition, diabetes treatment guidelines mostly concentrate on drugs, that are very expensive. People with diabetes often take three to 5 oral medications, and a few even need insulin to manage their blood sugar. “But if we give people the support they need to lose weight through lifestyle changes, we can manage their disease much more effectively with less medication,” says Dr. Hamdi.

A high-tech fix?

The secret’s using the most recent technology, which might make life easier for each patients and their physicians. This model relies on telemedicine to create a “virtual diabetes clinic,” explains Dr. Hamdi. A pilot program he launched in Joslin, called Joslin Home, centers around short, frequent visits with a health care provider — all delivered live but via smartphone, tablet. , or by computer. The wonderful thing about virtual visits is that you would be able to do them anywhere—at home or wherever you occur to be. No must cut off half of your day to drive through traffic, park, wait for a health care provider's appointment, and drive home.

Appointments are scheduled each one to 2 weeks and could be with anyone on the diabetes care team: a physician, nurse practitioner, diabetes educator, exercise physiologist, or behavioral therapist. They last only five to 10 minutes and concentrate on five questions:

  1. What is your blood sugar?
  2. Are you following your weight loss plan plan?
  3. Are you following your exercise plan?
  4. Are you taking your medication?
  5. What do you would like from this visit?

The tools you wish

“We send people a blood glucose meter to test their blood sugar, and they send the result to a cloud-based server for the doctor to see. If the result isn't included, it's an automated blood glucose meter. Triggers a reminder. Check,” says Dr. Hamdi. A smartphone app provides this feature, together with an in depth lifestyle intervention plan. For example, there may be an animation that demonstrates exercises and shows you what healthy eating looks like. You may also use the app to speak directly along with your pharmacy to schedule medication refills.

The app relies on the Why WAIT (Weight Gain and Intensive Treatment) program developed at Joslin, which relies on 12 years of published evidence and has helped a whole bunch of individuals shed some pounds and manage their diabetes. Is. The interface was developed by designers from two major entertainment firms, Warner Bros. and Pixar.

What is HbA1c?

The hemoglobin A1c test (also called the HbA1c or simply the A1c test) is a measure of an individual's average blood sugar over a period of about three months. Reading means:

  • General: Less than 5.7%
  • Pre-diabetes: 5.7% to six.4%
  • Diabetes: 6.5% or more.

Advice and accountability

Dr. Hamdi says people need uncomplicated advice and a number of motivation to shed some pounds and keep it off. Extreme versions of any weight loss plan — low-carb, low-fat, or low-calorie — are just too restrictive; People just can't stick with these eating habits in the long term. “We provide menus that include typical foods that people eat every day but reduce carbohydrates and increase protein and control portions,” he explains.

An exercise program is tailored to an individual's individual needs, but a sample regimen includes stretching for 10 minutes within the morning, brisk walking for 10 minutes after lunch, and using resistance bands within the evening. Includes 10 minutes of strength exercises.

Frequent checks with providers help hold people accountable. Just such as you brush your teeth before seeing your dentist, you're more more likely to stick with your healthy habits for those who know someone is watching your blood sugar results. In fact, individuals with diabetes are more motivated than people who find themselves simply obese, says Dr. Hamdi, because they’ll see immediate changes of their blood sugar related to lifestyle changes. are

However, in case your progress is slow at first, there isn’t a blame or guilt. “We just keep encouraging them and believing that they will see results. When they do, they stick with the program,” he says.

In 4 months, people following the Why WAIT program lose a mean of seven.7 kilos, and their HbA1c levels drop by a mean of 0.7 points, says Dr. Hamdi (see “What is HbA1c?”). If you possibly can lose 7% of your body weight and maintain that loss for a 12 months, your diabetes treatment costs are reduced by 44%.

Right now, the WhyWAIT app (see www.healthimation.com) offers a one-week free trial. After that, it costs $49.99 per 30 days for the primary three months, then $10 per 30 days after that. Unlike typical weight reduction apps, meal and exercise plans are based on an individualized and holistic assessment of the user. But it doesn’t include access to a healthcare skilled.

The payment model for your complete Joslin Home program — including real-time virtual visits with health care providers and blood sugar monitoring — remains to be a piece in progress. But Dr. Hamdi is currently in talks with one in every of the country's largest medical insurance firms to seek out ways to supply the plan to its members.

Photo: Fertnig/Getty Images