Taking Action to Combat Type 2 Diabetes
Alarmingly, the rate of patients with Type 2 diabetes in Arizona has doubled over the past decade. Mission of Mercy (MOM) is at the front lines of this battle. Approximately 80% of the patients who visit our clinics have one or more chronic condition with the top 3 conditions being hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol.
MOM patients have a prevalence rate of Type 2 diabetes of 44% — more than 4 times higher than the statewide average of 10.3%. This means our patients are at a high risk for developing complications if they acquire COVID-19. So it’s more important than ever that we continue to safely administer patient visits and education, in addition to prescription medications.
At our Maryvale and North Phoenix clinic sites, we are working to provide Type 2 diabetes management and education to patients like Rose* who came to our clinic registering an HbA1c level of 11.3% in early 2019. She began working with our bilingual Certified Diabetes Educator Cecilia Chapman, RDN, CDCES, earlier this year. Over the past few months, she has participated in telehealth sessions from home to help reinforce positive lifestyle changes.
On one of the calls, Rose shared that she was trying to follow her meal plans but that the COVID-19 pandemic had made her extremely anxious. As a result of the crisis, she lost her job and as a widower, she is the sole provider for her family. She was forced to rely on extended family and friends to help feed her family and pay rent. She also shared that she sometimes had to eat foods she knew weren’t the best choices for her diabetes control, but she had limited options.
MOM Patients Making Progress During Pandemic
Cecilia provided suggestions for healthful meals on a budget using the small amount of money she was receiving and encouraged Rose to track her food intake and come to a one-on-one education session in early June. A new A1c was taken and her results showed a decrease of 4.2% from her highest level.
This was a huge relief to Rose, and reaffirmed the importance of eating right and taking medications properly. With a reading of 7.1%, her physician is confident that she can successfully bring her A1c down below the American Diabetes Association’s recommendation of less than 7% in just a few weeks. Rose is one of many MOM patients battling Type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions.
*Name has been changed to protect patient privacy.