There are 30 million Americans living with diabetes, and 84 million Americans have prediabetes.
Early diabetes prevention is key to controlling the diabetes epidemic and there is a specific role community pharmacists can play in reaching and educating patients, according to a presentation at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores-Total Store Expo conference held in San Diego.
Brooke Hudspeth, PharmD, CDE, with The Kroger Company explained how her company is participating in the CDC's National Diabetes Prevention Program, the aim of which is to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 in the general population, while also improving general health.
“Pharmacies are in a good place to help reach those goals,” Hudspeth said. “They are accessible, trusted health care professionals. They have a good opportunity and are a good resource to increase awareness in prevention.”
There are 30 million Americans living with diabetes, and 84 million Americans have prediabetes, Hudspeth said. She noted 9 out of 10 adults with prediabetes are unaware they have it.
Following CDC guidelines for early prevention programs, Kroger officials established patient-centered processes that involved collecting and assessing patient records, while connecting those enrolled in the study with lifestyle coaches to implement lifestyle modifications aimed at preventing diabetes progression. The efforts took place over a 2-year timeframe in 6 pharmacies in Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky. She said a 6.8% and a 7.1% weight loss was noted at 6 and 12 months respectively.
Hudspeth explained that pharmacies are in a unique position to better serve the community. Pharmacies, especially those located in stores, are easily accessible to the patients who may have a harder time receiving medical care. She noted 3 specific steps that pharmacists can take to help prevent or reduce diabetes. First, pharmacists can promote awareness of prediabetes and the National Diabetes Prevention Program. Hudspeth encouraged pharmacists to screen, test, and refer people at-risk to a CDC-recognized lifestyle change program. Finally, pharmacies can become CDC-recognized organizations to provide further assistance with treatment options.
Since nutrition plays such a key role in the prevention and management of diabetes, pharmacists can be instrumental in helping patients reach their weight loss goals.
“I can‘t emphasize enough what a great resource the pharmacies are. They have access to the records of who are the most at-risk patients,” Hudspeth said. “Pharmacies are a vital part of the health-care system.”
Hudspeth B. Preventative Community Pharmacy Diabetes Management Programs. Presented at: NACDS-TSE; August 19-22, 2017; San Diego.