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University of Iowa News Release

March 19, 2004

UI Program Pairs Pre-Diabetes Awareness With Action

Pre-diabetes -- when your body can only partially control its blood glucose -- puts you at a 50 percent higher risk for heart disease and stroke. That's one of the important facts to consider on March 23, Pre-Diabetes Awareness Day in Iowa. It's also a good day to consider whether you might be one of the 1.4 million Iowans (half the state's population) at increased risk for pre-diabetes or undiagnosed diabetes because of age, obesity or sedentary lifestyle.

In the Iowa City area, people can schedule tests and, if appropriate, enroll in a University of Iowa Health Care exercise and lifestyle intervention program designed to ward off diabetes. The next session will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday evenings April 13 through June 3. The enrollment deadline is April 6.

The program, "Reaching Euglycemia and Comprehensive Health" (REACH), helps individuals normalize their blood sugar, or reach euglycemia. Free UI Health Care fasting glucose screenings are available for people to learn if the REACH program is right for them. People can call UI Health Access toll-free at 800-777-8442 or 384-8442 locally to set up a screening. Overweight people age 45 and older and people who are overweight and under age 45 with the risk factors listed below are particularly encouraged to be tested.

The eight-week program also welcomes people with known diabetes risk factors who are hesitant to start an exercise program because of chronic problems, such as arthritis. Exercise routines are individualized to each person's needs and physical condition.

The REACH team -- a nurse, a psychologist, a physical therapist, a dietitian and a physician -- provide counseling, expert advice, exercise evaluation and exercise sessions. The bi-weekly educational and exercise classes help participants reverse the trend toward diabetes. The program fee is $242.

For more information about enrolling in the REACH diabetes prevention program, call 319-356-2663, extension 3. Information also is available online at In addition, to receive a copy of the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) free brochure, "Small Steps, Big Rewards: Your Game Plan for Preventing Type 2 Diabetes," call 800-438-5383 or visit the NDEP Web site at

"We know that pre-diabetes does not have to lead to diabetes," said Rhonda Barr, UI physical therapist with the REACH team. "With support and commitment to making some lifestyle changes, people with pre-diabetes can reward themselves with a longer, healthier life. However, if a person with pre-diabetes doesn't make changes, they usually develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years."

With Type 2 diabetes, the body makes insulin but does not respond well to it. Left untreated or inadequately controlled, diabetes can cause blindness, kidney failure, nerve damage and infections in addition to heart disease and stroke.

People are more likely to develop pre-diabetes and diabetes if they have any of these risk factors:
-- family members with diabetes
-- overweight (20 percent or more over optimal weight or a Body Mass Index of 25 of higher)
-- physically inactive (exercise fewer than three times weekly)
-- high blood pressure (equal to or over 140/90)
-- abnormal cholesterol levels: low HDL (the "good" cholesterol) and high triglycerides
-- of Native American, Latino, Pacific Islander, Asian-American or African-American descent
-- history of diabetes during pregnancy or giving birth to a baby weighing more than nine pounds; or having polycystic ovarian syndrome (an endocrine condition)

As with all medical decisions, it is best to consult with your physician before making any changes to your health care routine.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5137 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 5224-1178

CONTACT: Potential Participants: REACH Program, 319-356-2663, ext. 3
Media Only: Becky Soglin, 319-335-6660,