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Prisma Health offers diabetes prevention and education programs to help fight one of state’s largest health issues

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

COLUMBIA, S.C.— South Carolina ranks seventh highest in the country in percent of adult population with diabetes, and diabetes is one of the top eight leading causes of death for South Carolina residents. According to the United Health Foundation, South Carolina exceeds the national average for rates of diagnosis in every category – age, race and income levels. During Diabetes Awareness Month, Prisma Health physicians are seeking to impact these trends by encouraging individuals to be aware of risk factors and early signs and symptoms, as well as sharing information on how the disease can be prevented and treated.

Brooke McAdams, MDThere are two types of diabetes: Type 1, the type that typically occurs in younger people and is diagnosed at an early age, and Type 2, the type known as the disease of diet and lifestyle where your body does not function well as a result of increased intake of fats and sugars. Type 2 is typically diagnosed later in life.

“Type 2 diabetes is completely preventable. The best way to prevent diabetes is to manage your lifestyle with both a healthy diet and exercise,” said Brooke McAdams, MD, Prisma Health Endocrinology. “We encourage individuals to evaluate their diet. Does it include a lot of processed food, takeout or sugary drinks? You may need to adjust your eating habits to reduce your risk.”

Nationally, approximately 88 million Americans have pre-diabetes according to the CDC, which raises a person's risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), increased risk factors for type 2 diabetes also include:

  • Being age 45 or older.
  • Being overweight or obese.
  • Being physically inactive.
  • Being Black, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American or Pacific Islander.
  • Having a parent or sibling with diabetes.
  • Having high blood pressure.

Prisma Health offers a year-long Diabetes Prevention Program that is structured to provide healthy lifestyle intervention for those at risk for Type 2 diabetes. The program includes support from a trained lifestyle coach and a support group, as well as instruction on how to eat healthier, increase physical activity and lose a modest amount of weight in order to reduce chances of the disease developing.

Those at risk should monitor for the common signs and symptoms of diabetes according to the ADA, which include:

  • Increased thirst.
  • Numb and tingling hands and feet.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Feeling hungry.
  • Increased urinary frequency.

However, some patients with diabetes can experience other symptoms, or none at all, according to McAdams. “We encourage patients who may be worried about risk factors or any of these symptoms to talk with their physicians early, to monitor the risk and identify if further testing is needed.”

Once diagnosed, treatment options typically include diet and lifestyle changes, oral medications and insulin therapy with injections. “Your provider will recommend the best mix of treatment for your specific case,” added McAdams.

Prisma Health is committed to helping educate and inform South Carolina residents about this disease. Locally, these upcoming events or screenings are available for residents who may want to learn more.

About Prisma Health

Prisma Health is a not-for-profit health company and the largest healthcare system in South Carolina. With nearly 30,000 team members, 18 acute and specialty hospitals, 2,947 beds and more than 300 outpatient sites with nearly 2,000 physicians, Prisma Health serves more than 1.2 million unique patients annually in its 21-county market area that covers 50% of South Carolina. Prisma Health’s goal is to improve the health of all South Carolinians by enhancing clinical quality, the patient experience and access to affordable care, as well as conducting clinical research and training the next generation of medical professionals. Visit for more information.

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