PHILADELPHIA — Implementing lifestyle changes after a type 2 diabetes diagnosis can be daunting for patients, but one website is aiming to make it fun, according to a presentation here at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists 21st Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress Meeting.
Farhad Zangeneh, MD, FACP, FACE, a clinical endocrinologist in Northern Virginia and assistant professor of medicine at George Washington University School of Medicine, along with Samantha Heller, MS, RD, CDN, a clinical nutrition coordinator at the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn., and Mike Golic, co-host of ESPN’s Mike & Mike in the Morning and former NFL star with type 2 diabetes, collaborated to create the Blood Sugar Basics Game Plan.
The Game Plan, developed by the American College of Endocrinology (ACE) with support from Merck, provides a step-by-step guide for patients to help manage their diabetes through a user friendly, interactive website (http://bloodsugarbasics.com).
“An informed and educated patient, by design, is a motivated patient. In diabetes management, education is invaluable. Patients need to be knowledgeable, and ask, ‘What is required of me? What is my responsibility?’” Zangeneh told Endocrine Today. “And that’s where The Game Plan comes in.”
The first goal of The Game Plan, “Huddle,” challenges patients to seek help from their health care provider to educate, set health goals and develop a “game plan.” The second, “Enter the Nutrition Zone,” encourages patients to take small steps to develop healthier eating habits. “Get in the Game,” is the third goal, or the exercise portion of the plan. The fourth goal, “Check the Scoreboard,” allows patients to share their accomplishments with their friends and family and serves as a follow-up to their game plan.
“As you know, we’re in the middle of a diabetes epidemic. Everyone has a family member with diabetes, a friend, or themselves,” Zangeneh said.
Today, 26 million Americans have diabetes (8.3% of the US population), and 7 million of those patients do not know they have the disease. The CDC estimates that 79 million adults aged at least 20 years have prediabetes.
“Managing type 2 diabetes is extremely overwhelming for the patient. It even overwhelms the physician,” Zangeneh said.
The Game Plan uses common language, catering to individual needs, and encourages patients to “learn” their goal ABC’s (A: HbA1c, B: blood pressure, C: cholesterol) and work with their medical team “coaches” to achieve these goals and reduce their risk for serious complications, such as heart disease. In addition to managing high blood sugar, The Game Plan helps patients manage their risk for low blood sugar by educating about its causes, which can include skipping meals, changes in exercise or certain diabetes medications.
Zangeneh said other clinicians “should speak to patients in their own language and own interests. Be a motivator, a teacher, a friend.”
“[The Game Plan] organizes the patient on the things they need to do,” he said. – by Samantha Costa
Disclosure: Dr. Zangeneh reports no relevant financial disclosures.