Merck, American College of Endocrinology Partner on Blood Sugar Basics Game Plan

The program, featuring promotional support from football personalities, is designed to inform diabetes patients about their treatment options and help manage the disease.

The Blood Sugar Basics Game Plan, developed by the American College of Endocrinology (ACE), with support from Merck (NYSE:MRK) (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada), is kicking off to help the nearly 26 million people in the U.S. who have diabetes find new ways to help manage their disease. The interactive, user-friendly program breaks down diabetes management into four easy-to-understand "goals" to help people with type 2 diabetes take small steps toward better management of their disease.

The program is spearheaded by a trio of Game Plan "coaches:" Mike Golic, co-host of ESPN's Mike & Mike in the Morning and former NFL star who has type 2 diabetes; Farhad Zangeneh, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.E., a clinical endocrinologist; and Samantha Heller, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., a registered dietitian and exercise physiologist with expertise in diabetes. Each coach contributes unique experience and knowledge to The Game Plan, available on

"When I was first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I wasn't sure how I would manage and adjust my lifestyle, but then I thought about it in terms of football and started viewing my doctor as my coach. Together, we worked to develop my personal game plan to help tackle the disease in a way that worked for me," explains Mike Golic. "That's why I am rooting for people with type 2 diabetes to try the Blood Sugar Basics Game Plan – it provides an easy-to-understand approach to help manage the condition through a series of realistic 'goal'-setting steps."

Managing type 2 diabetes can often feel overwhelming, and that's why The Game Plan outlines four personalized goals – Huddle, Enter the Nutrition Zone, Get in the Game, and Check the Scoreboard – that people with type 2 diabetes can put into practice, one at a time, with the help of a healthcare professional.

The first goal of The Game Plan, Huddle, encourages patients to work with a healthcare professional to learn more about type 2 diabetes, including high and low blood sugar and related complications like heart disease, and fill out The Game Plan Playbook to set health goals and develop a personalized game plan to help them get to a diabetes touchdown.

Dr. Zangeneh, the physician advisor to the Blood Sugar Basics program, believes that there is a tremendous need for education about the management of type 2 diabetes. "For example, patients often think about watching for high blood sugar, but do not realize that low blood sugar is also a risk. Low blood sugar is indicated by symptoms such as dizziness and sweating and can be caused by irregular mealtimes, excessive exercise and even certain diabetes medications. Furthermore, low blood sugar can lead to serious consequences including loss of consciousness if it is not treated," he explains.

The second goal of The Game Plan, Enter the Nutrition Zone, helps people take small steps to healthier eating habits. "Changes to your meal plan do not need to be drastic, in fact, they should be made slowly to ensure that they are lasting," advises Samantha Heller. "There are many steps you can take to eat healthier and manage your blood sugar." 

After being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, Golic worked with his doctor to look at his diet and realized that he was still eating like he was an NFL defensive tackle. He explains, "It was easier for me to set small goals to start eating healthier, and I think that's true for most people." In addition to making small changes to his eating habits after retiring from the NFL, Golic worked with his doctor to find ways to incorporate physical activity into his daily routine.

That's where Get in the Game, the third goal, comes into play. "My doctor told me that people with type 2 diabetes are much more likely to develop heart disease than people without diabetes, and that physical activity could help lower my blood pressure and cholesterol levels," says Golic.  "Now, I make sure to find some way to be active every day – it could be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking after dinner."

The fourth goal of The Game Plan, Check the Scoreboard, encourages people with type 2 diabetes to celebrate their progress with their biggest fans, like their friends and family, assess what worked for them, and visit with a healthcare professional to continue working toward and maintaining their goals.

To get started on developing your personal Game Plan, visit The website also has other helpful resources including questions to ask your doctor, tips about managing high and low blood sugar, a blood sugar knowledge quiz and checklists on how to help get through episodes of low and high blood sugar.

Source: Merck

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