Rep. Laurie Jinkins has lived with diabetes almost her entire life. When she was diagnosed with “childhood onset diabetes,” now known as Type 1 Diabetes, insulin pumps were huge, weighing more than 4 lbs.
Thankfully, medicine has come a long way since them. However, in the last 100 years since treatment has improved, the rates of diabetes have skyrocketed.
Today, nearly 26 million children and adults in the US have diabetes. And, it is expensive. Treating diabetes costs an estimated $245 billion each year – accounting for 1 out of ever 5 dollars spent on healthcare.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Type 2 diabetes is preventable.
Rep. Jinkins said, “From my perspective, it’s a lot easier to prevent it than it is to manage it once you have it. If you can prevent it, you can almost eliminate the likelihood that you’ll end up blind, or with kidney failure or losing a limb or feeling in your extremities. That’s my focus.”
Yesterday, Governor Inslee and Rep. Jinkins came out to support Washington’s new diabetes prevention program – NotME. Launched on the first of the year, this revolutionary program, proven effective in other states is offered free to all public employees.
Employees can get tested with a simple prick of the finger and find out within minutes whether he or she has prediabetes. If so, those with prediabetes can sign up for classes, conveniently located at their work site. These classes will help participants make key lifestyle changes: getting active, eating healthy, losing weight – all with help of coworkers who are in the same situation.
Making health changes can be challenging, but it is also empowering. We all want to live long lives – to travel and play with our grandchildren. NotMe will make that possible.
As Rep. Jinkins said, “Once I got old enough to understand my disease, I also understood that my future was completely in my hands. I had control, I just had to exercise it. That doesn’t mean that I’ve always been perfect, but I’ve worked hard to stay healthy for what’s most important to me – my 13-year-old son, my wife, and my work serving the people of Washington.”