Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Diabetes is a reality every day of the year for more than 25 million Americans. During National Diabetes Month (you may know it as “November”), there is an extra effort to get people talking about diabetes. Here at Palladian Partners, we’re taking this opportunity to look back at some of the diabetes-related projects on which we’ve worked in the past few years.

People with diabetes have a problem with a hormone called insulin. Insulin helps you use sugar. In diabetes, either your body doesn’t make enough insulin, or it can’t use the insulin that it makes. Without insulin, sugar builds up in the blood. Over the long term, high blood sugar can cause serious problems, like blindness and kidney damage.

That’s the kind of message that Palladian is getting across to people who have one of the three types of diabetes—and people who could prevent or delay some forms of diabetes if they take the right steps to improve their health. Through our writing, graphic design, Web development, and other services, we are helping our clients educate people about diabetes.

National Diabetes Education ProgramPalladian helps support the website of the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), a partnership of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and more than 200 other public and private organizations. We helped conceptualize and design a new feature on the NDEP website that provides guiding principles for health care providers who care for people who have diabetes or are at risk for diabetes. It brings together information from many different sets of evidence-based guidelines on diabetes care. We also built the NDEP’s new National Diabetes Month webpage and have helped develop interactive tools such as one for planning to eat better and exercise more.

Palladian supported the award-winning publication “Take Care of Your Feet for a Lifetime,” one of many NDEP publications that we designed. Over time, high blood sugar can damage the nerves in the feet and decrease blood flow to the feet; people with diabetes can have pain or numbness in their feet, and they may develop sores or ulcers that won’t heal. This publication, with cameo appearances by some Palladian hands and feet and the entirety of one writer, shows people with diabetes how to care for their feet. “4 Steps to Manage Your Diabetes for Life” is another example of Palladian’s design helping to get diabetes information across to consumers.

A major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, which used to be known as adult-onset diabetes, is being overweight or obese. A huge NIH-funded trial found more than 10 years ago that by taking 7% off their weight, people at risk of diabetes were able to lower their risk by more than 50%. How do I have these diabetes prevention facts at my fingertips? For this month’s issue of NIH News in Health, a publication put out by NIH’s Office of the Director, I wrote about how to prevent type 2 diabetes.

For NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), Palladian wrote a comprehensive overview of diabetes—both basic health information and NICHD’s related research—and translated it into Spanish.

NIHGestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that only pregnant women get. Women with gestational diabetes have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later. Last summer, Palladian developed a Web feature about NICHD’s research on reducing the risk of gestational diabetes. The conclusion: Women are less likely to develop gestational diabetes if they eat healthy and exercise before getting pregnant.

In a 2012 news release, Palladian shared the results of an NICHD study showing that women who ate a diet high in animal fat and cholesterol before pregnancy were more likely to develop gestational diabetes. We are also helping NICHD use social medial to get messages about diabetes and other health topics out to new audiences.

These are just a few of the ways in which Palladian has helped spread healthy messages to people who have diabetes or are at risk of developing it. We are proud to use our writing, design, and other services to help people live better with this chronic illness.

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