November is Diabetes Awareness Month so what better time to talk about diabetes and prediabetes. According to the CDC more than 30 million Americans have diabetes and one in three adults has prediabetes. Ninety percent of those with prediabetes don’t even know it. The consequences of diabetes, both physical and financial can be dire. People with diabetes are at increased risk of dementia, hearing and vision loss, heart disease, kidney failure, lower leg amputations, depression, dental decay and tooth loss, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, bone fractures and nerve pain. As if that wasn’t enough, in Vermont diabetes is one of four chronic health conditions that is responsible for fifty percent of all deaths. Not only do people with diabetes suffer physically but they also suffer financially. People with diabetes spend up to 2.3 times more on their health care costs than do their healthy counterparts.
When it comes to prediabetes, it’s not all bad news. While people with prediabetes are at increased risk of developing diabetes, it is not inevitable. By getting diagnosed and by making some simple lifestyle changes it is possible to prevent the development of diabetes. If you have any of the risk factors for prediabetes it is important to talk to your primary care provider right away and get tested. For our Cigna members the diagnostic test is free as part of your package of preventive care benefits.
If you have prediabetes five, small lifestyle changes can significantly reduce your likelihood of developing diabetes. These include following a healthy, whole foods based diet, engaging in regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking and limiting alcohol use to no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men. While these lifestyle changes seem simple they may not always be easy. That’s where the Cigna Lifestyle Management Program comes into play.
With the support of a qualified Cigna Lifestyle Coach you will create a personal healthy living plan to help build your confidence, be more active, eat healthier and quit smoking. Even better, your Cigna coach will be there to support you all the way. The program is free and confidential and offers convenient evening and weekend hours. For more information call the number on the back of your Cigna card or go to Go to www.mycigna.com click on Manage My Health and select My Health Assistant Online Coaching from the drop down menu.