Personalized Health Coaching May Prevent Progression to Type 2 Diabetes

March 9, 2015
Meghan Ross, Associate Editor

Improvements in nutrition, exercise, stress, and sleep may help patients with prediabetes reduce their risk of progressing to type 2 diabetes.

Improvements in nutrition, exercise, stress, and sleep may help patients with prediabetes reduce their risk of progressing to type 2 diabetes.

The research findings, which will be presented at the American College of Cardiology Annual Scientific Session on March 14, 2015, suggest that personalized health coaching can help patients with prediabetes control their blood glucose metabolism, which will lower their likelihood of developing diabetes—a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

While many studies on reducing cardiac risk have focused on exercise and nutrition, the researchers behind this Integrative Cardiac Health Project maintained that their study adds 2 new areas to the mix: sleep and stress.

In the study, participants underwent a cardiovascular health assessment and were tasked with health goals specific to each of them. They also participated in 14 coaching sessions with specialists in nutrition, exercise, sleep, and stress management.

The authors found that patients who regained normal glucose metabolism lowered their fasting glucose level by 12% on average. They also saw a drop from 105.4 milligrams to 92.4 milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood on average, according to the study.

“This is a big deal because we know that with each 5 milligrams per deciliter drop in blood glucose, there is a significant reduction in cardiovascular risk,” said lead study author Mariam Kashani, DNP, chief scientific director at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in a press release. “Most importantly, they lowered their glucose levels below the threshold of 100 milligrams per deciliter, when blood vessels start to become unhealthy.”

In addition, 49% of the 107 patients with prediabetes at the start of the study had normal blood glucose levels by the end of the 6-month study. They also saw improvements in blood pressure, fasting insulin, perceived stress levels, and levels of tiredness, according to the authors.

Ten-minute tension tamers and alarms to remind patients to get to bed early may help those with prediabetes improve their health beyond diet and exercise.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15% to 30% of patients with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years if they do not make changes to their health.