Diabetes patients have a high chance of heart attacks, strokes, blindness, and kidney failure. Becoming a little more active and losing a little weight are effective ways of lowering the chances of these problems. We need more tools to help patients make these changes and to help their health professionals to support them. This is what I am trying to do through the research studies that I am conducting.
In one study, I am looking at what happens when we fit 'step counters' or pedometers into medical visits with doctors. Half of the patients (decided by something like the toss of a coin) will get 'prescriptions' from their doctors telling them to complete a certain number of 'steps' each day, and to slowly increase this number. These patients will keep track of their steps with a step counter, write the numbers of steps each day in a diary, and review these with their doctor at their next medical visit. The other group of patients will see their doctors as usual but will not have counters. At the end of a year, we will look at the arteries of both groups of patients with an ultrasound machine to see which group does better.
I have also been developing a program that combines information on nutrition with cooking lessons. I have been studying this in diabetes patients but I plan to see how it works in women who have had diabetes in pregnancy. These women have a high chance of diabetes in the future. I will see if this type of program helps these women lower their weight and handle sugars and starches more easily.