People’s Health Clinic offers prediabetes care
The staff counsels those with high blood sugar levels
Volunteers and employees at the People’s Health Clinic think it’s important to offer preventative care as a service.
Pharmacist Judith Turner is one such volunteer who wants to stop chronic illnesses before they occur, which is why she is an instrumental figure in the nonprofit’s prediabetes program.
The program, designed to guide those who have above normal blood sugar levels, started in June thanks to a grant from the Summit County Health Department.
Turner said the program is set up to screen patients for prediabetes. It also offers counseling to prevent those with a prediabetes diagnosis from getting Type 2 diabetes, which can lead to an array of health problems such as damaged nerves in vital organs and hardened arteries that can cause strokes and heart attacks.
“Part of my clinical involvement with the program is counseling patients with prediabetes,” she said. “We try to get them information on lifestyle changes.”
People interested in enrolling in the program must first go through a screening.
“We give them a Hemoglobin A1C blood test as part of the screening,” Turner said.
The test measures a patient’s average blood sugar level over a period of three months, and shows what percentage of hemoglobin has sugar.
A patient that tests at 5.7 to 6.4 percent is pre-diabetic. A person that tests at 6.5 percent and higher has diabetes.
Turner said she also takes people’s weights for the preventative care option.
“It’s not always the case, but being overweight is a contributing factor to prediabetes,” Turner said.
Once someone is enrolled in the program, he or she is expected to occasionally visit the clinic to receive counseling in the form of diet and exercise advice.
Turner said she hands each participant a meal planning handout, which says that all meals should have more vegetables than any other food group. It also lists suggestions for food that can be prepared for breakfast, lunch and dinner. One meal option is chicken vegetable soup with noodles.
The brochures are available in Spanish and English.
Turner said she also tells patients to get as much exercise as they can. She said using the stairs instead of an elevator counts. She also thinks walking is a great form of exercise.
The pharmacist is glad the prediabetes health care program exists. She said she is already seeing patients lose pounds, and weight loss is one of the most effective ways to reverse prediabetes.
She feels the results show why it’s important the clinic, which serves Summit and Wasatch County residents who are uninsured or who can’t afford regular health care services, needs such a program. She said many people who have lower incomes are more susceptible to prediabetes since they don’t have the extra money to buy healthy groceries.
To find out about the People’s Health Clinic and its programs such as the prediabetes one, visit peopleshealthclinic.org or call 435-333-1850.
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Do you support botanical organizations? Confusing ballot question aside, Proposition 21 is actually asking about the RAP tax, a 0.1% sales tax that has raised more than $25 million for recreation, arts and parks in Summit County since it was first put in place in 2000.