The Los Angeles corporate headquarters of real estate firm CBRE is revolutionary because it incorporates built-in features that are designed to improve employees’ health. For example, there are desks that have treadmills built underneath and work stations that can be raised so that workers get to stand while they work.

A growing concern

Why is this important? Because when it comes to fighting diabetes, we must begin to view prevention as part of our battle plan. There are an estimated 29 million people with diabetes in the U.S., and another 86 million who have prediabetes. People with prediabetes have the opportunity to make lifestyle changes that can prevent or delay a diagnosis. Finding ways to increase activities like walking– not sitting– throughout the day can truly make someone healthier.
"Collectively we can and will take the steps necessary to prevent diagnoses and manage the condition."
This also gets at the core of what diabetes education is all about; working to find ways that people can incorporate basic steps into their own daily routines that have a marked impact on their heath. And it should start before a diagnosis is even made.

Managing risk

There are many risk factors for diabetes, some of which can be changed and some that cannot. There may be a genetic predisposition to diabetes, which is out of one’s control, but increasing activity, not smoking and eating healthier foods can make a profound impact. It is important to have support making these changes as it is a long term strategy, not a quick fix.
If it comes to a diagnosis, diabetes educators teach patients how to make a successful change in lifestyle and how to manage blood glucose levels, cope successfully and learn to problem solve.
Self-management and education go hand in hand. This means being able to make healthy choices, understand what affects and how to respond to glucose levels, and how to deal with the many emotional aspects that are associated with diabetes. In turn, proper management can delay and possibly prevent health consequences of diabetes, which can include hypoglycemia, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Technology is blazing a trail and changing the way we live. There are a number of diabetes related apps, such as the AADE’s free Diabetes Goal Tracker that helps people set and meet goals, and share them with others for peer support.
Cutting edge blood glucose monitors communicate with mobile devices that send data to the diabetes educator, who may be miles away. This is active management. Telehealth initiatives will hopefully receive federal approval so that diabetes educators can expand services in this way.
The desk/treadmill combination is a perfect metaphor for the challenges presented by the diabetes epidemic. But collectively we can and will take the steps necessary to prevent diagnoses and manage the condition.