Marshall Medical Center health care experts encourage healthy lifestyle changes
PLACERVILLE — A study released this spring estimates that 50 percent
of El Dorado County adults, including one out of every three young people
ages 18-39, have undiagnosed diabetes or prediabetes, a precursor to life-threatening
type 2 diabetes. An additional 6 percent of the county’s population
already have been diagnosed with the disease.
El Dorado County’s figures are even more alarming than the overall
outlook for California: It’s estimated that 46 percent of the state’s
adults — more than 13 million people — have prediabetes or
undiagnosed diabetes, according to The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research study.
These numbers concern local health care providers, who point out that type
2 diabetes can lead to several life-threatening ailments.
“Most people don’t know that they are prediabetic, and aren’t
aware of the risks to their health such as heart attack, stroke, blindness
and amputation that often come with type 2 diabetes,” said Swetha
Mudunuri, MD, Marshall Family and Internal Medicine.
“Type 2 diabetes is preventable,” Mudunuri continued. “Lifestyle
changes — like losing weight, changing your diet and exercising
— can lower your blood glucose levels and even reverse prediabetes.
Diagnosis is key. It just takes a simple blood test to discover if you
are at risk for type 2 diabetes.”
“Making healthy lifestyle changes can be challenging,” added
Lisa Hartley, RN, a Certified Diabetes Educator and coordinator of Marshall
Medical Center’s Diabetes and Nutrition Education Center in Cameron Park.
“It’s about taking small steps in the right direction. It takes
time, planning, understanding and support to be successful,” she
said, explaining the center’s team approach in assisting patients
in setting realistic and achievable goals to control diabetes.
One such patient, a 63-year-old man from Rescue, was able to self-manage
his diabetes by watching his diet and making a conscious decision to move
more each day. In seven months, he dropped nine pounds and lowered his
blood glucose levels to a healthy range.
“This patient’s goal was to avoid the need for medication,”
explained AJ Kenworthy, RN, a Certified Diabetes Educator and member of
the Diabetes and Nutrition Education team. “Everyone has to find
their personal motivators to get control of diabetes.”
Kenworthy points out that while many people require medication to control
diabetes, a healthy diet and regular exercise will allow them to use less
medication and reduces their risk for complications.
Diabetes educators help patients with their specialized knowledge in diabetes,
including self-management tools like diet and exercise, medication and
monitoring of blood glucose. They also serve as coaches who help with
goal setting, behavior change and motivation.
Medical specialists at Marshall’s Diabetes and Nutrition Education
Center are available for individual diabetes management and they offer
classes on healthy living with diabetes. The program is recognized by
the American Diabetes Association and services are most often covered
with a physician’s referral.
Hartley says the UCLA study points to the importance of reversing a dangerous
health trend. “The impact of diabetes is dramatic in terms of both
human suffering and socioeconomic costs,” she said, explaining that
people with prediabetes have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and
stroke, and the risks increase as they develop type 2 diabetes.
Hartley is especially concerned about the incidence of prediabetes in the
18-39 age group.
“We know that if this age group doesn’t take steps to improve
their physical activity, diet and weight, there is a 70 percent chance
they will develop diabetes in their lifetime. We need to reverse this,”
she said. “As health care providers, we want people to achieve a
better quality of life, and have healthier communities overall.”
To see if you are at risk for diabetes, take the American Diabetes Association test on
Information about Marshall Medical Center’s Diabetes and Nutrition
Education Center: is available at
Details on the UCLA study are available at