The Pacific Chronic Disease Council calls on health care specialist to focus on border line diabetics to win the war against diabetes.

By Lori Lyn Lirio

PCDC advisor Dr. Nia Aitaoto at the four-day collaborative-learning session in Hibiscus, Fiesta Resort on Tuesday. She is with Bishop Ryan Jimenez. Photo © Lori Lyn Lirio

“TO win the war on diabetes, focus should be given to people who are borderline diabetic.”

Thus said Pacific Chronic Disease Council advisor Dr. Nia Aitaoto during an interview. She said health care partners should give equal focus on people who are on the ‘borderline’ of diabetes.

In the medical field, Aitaoto said the term ‘pre-diabetes’ or on the ‘borderline’ are the people who are at risk of getting diabetes.

“They are the people whose blood sugar levels are not high enough to have diabetes but are high enough to getting close to it. If you don’t do anything at that point, they will eventually become diabetic.”

Aitaoto was among the attendees of the four-day collaborative-learning session, which discussions focused on diabetes as the Western Pacific Region has 37 percent of the total worldwide cases of diabetes. She said the PCDC and healthcare partners are looking at managing diabetes but they have a long way to go.

“What we want to focus right now is pre-diabetes. Why are we fighting diabetes once you get diabetes? What about those people who don’t get diabetes but are getting close,” Aitaoto said.

She said the PCDC are focusing on that group in order to prevent the increase of diabetes cases.

“The focus now is to look at people who don’t have diabetes but are close to getting it. If we get people not to get diabetes, the number will go down. If we keep on fighting after you got diabetes you will lose the fight. We need to do the fight before the diabetes,” Aitaoto said.

She noted that in the entire Pacific region, there are only three sites that already started the diabetes prevention program, they are Ibae on Marshall Islands, Kosrae and Chuuk of Federated States of Micronesia.

Aitaoto said these sites have special program where they enrolled people, who have pre-diabetes, and put them in lifestyle change with lifestyle coach who will guide them every step of the way in order not to “crossover” to the diabetes side.

Aitaoto said other U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands are set to put the same program.

“In order for us to win the battle in diabetes, it does not only mean helping people who already have diabetes managed their disease but to stop people who are close to getting there and make sure to stay on the other side,” she said.

“Help the entire community to eat healthier and encouraged them to have an active lifestyle is the overall big picture on how we can win the fight,” she added.

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