Thanks to Medicare a whole lot of Michigan residents may be saved from a whole lot of trouble in the future.
Medicare will now cover preemptive classes for diabetes, like My Choice … My Health provided by the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan (NKFM). It is one of five diabetes prevention programs in Michigan now approved and covered by Medicare, which allow those at risk to meet and draw strength from each other while encouraging them to make healthy choices.
In our state one in three adults is pre-diabetic to some degree, according to the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan, so these classes could make huge difference. With the combined efforts of group support and nutrition coaches, there is a 58% success rate, which is higher than those treated with medication.
This is an important step, not only for the 35% of the US population who are prediabetic, but specifically for the 11 million seniors afflicted. With the majority of that population on a fixed income and receiving their health benefits from Medicare this is potentially a big advantage for them.
The number of seniors who fall in this category is incredibly large. There would be 10,000 new members for the classes if only 1% of the 1.9 million Medicare beneficiaries took advantage of the new coverage. The number of potential diabetics could drop off significantly as more seniors take advantage of their new options. Especially since, 71% of those over 60 (seniors, again, are the most at risk) succeed in delaying or even preventing diabetes.
While the main goal is combating diabetes, the classes have also been shown to help with other medical problems. Those who achieve the 5-7 percent body weight loss and 150 minutes of exercise a week also have experienced less need for cholesterol and blood pressure medication as well as greater control of hypertension.
While Medicare coverage is new, the classes are not. More than 500 people have participated in 35 different classes in 20 cities throughout Michigan since the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan started My Choice … My Health in 2012.
Of course, seniors are not the only ones who can take advantage of the classes. The increasing unhealthy lifestyle of Americans leads to more at risk. Most importantly, though, is that prevention is a matter of time.. The earlier you get ahead of the problem, the better your chances at a healthier life.
You can learn more about pre-diabetes at the American Medical Association/Center for Disease Control STAT website.
You can attend upcoming My Health … My Choice classes at the following locations.
Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital
Information session: Thursday, April 14, 6-7 p.m.
First session begins: Thursday, April 21
Information session: Tuesday, May 3, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
First session begins: Tuesday, May 10
Wayne County Community College
Information session: Monday, June 13, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
First session begins: Wednesday, June 29
Oakwood Physical Therapy and Wellness Center
Information session: Thursday, June 16, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
First session begins: Thursday, June 30
For more information please check out the program on the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan website.