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People with diabetes no longer have to manage it alone. Grant Regional Health Center is pleased to announce a new self-care program specifically designed for people with diabetes. Grant Regional recognizes that helping people stay healthy, prevents, slows or decreases the serious complications of diabetes.

The program is designed to help people learn about diabetes, make lifestyle changes, control symptoms and, best of all, avoid life-threatening complications.

Diabetes is a chronic disease. People live with this condition every day, and treatment relies heavily on the person diagnosed. This offers great freedom but also considerable responsibility for anyone with this condition. The people living with diabetes can use Grant Regional's new program as a helpful resource for controlling symptoms, preventing complications and managing their condition.

Role of a Certified Diabetes Educator

A certified diabetes educator (CDE) is typically a registered nurse or dietitian who has chosen to focus on diabetes education. There are only 10,000 CDEs in the United States. Earning this certification requires having considerable experience in patient education and passing an examination that leads to a solid foundation for educating people with diabetes. CDEs provide comprehensive diabetes education and instruction to inpatients and outpatients, as well as their families and loved ones. Grant Regional employs two educators in this role: Tracy Ackerman, RD and Teri Miles, RN.

Program Components

Grant Regional considers a self-management program an essential component of diabetes treatment. Our CDEs help people fit diabetes into their lives—not letting their lives be run by diabetes. They teach people how to monitor blood sugar levels at home, protect their feet, take medications safely, plan proper meals, and fit exercise into a busy lifestyle while making it fun and enjoyable.

"Managing diabetes does take a real commitment to taking care of yourself," says Miles. "It can be a lot of work at first, but the benefits are well worth the effort."

One of the most essential and difficult parts of the diabetes-management puzzle is learning and practicing good nutrition. Ackerman offers expertise to help people set and attain nutrition goals. According to Ackerman, meal planning is a difficult component to master.

"The information we provide are lessons that should be learned and practiced for a lifetime," says Ackerman. "We teach lifestyle changes, not simply a diet."

The program provides a wealth of information, including basic skills for self-care, warning signs and symptoms, stress management, exercise, and basic nutrition. All of these topics are discussed in a comfortable group setting with medical professionals who are specifically trained in diabetes management.

"The effectiveness of managing diabetes is essentially up to each person," says Miles. "Our job is to provide information and practice so people with diabetes feel they understand their condition and how to best prevent the long-term complications of diabetes. Medical research has shown that tight control of diabetes equals healthy living."

While close to 16 million Americans are living with diabetes, another 5.4 million Americans have diabetes and don't know it. Each day approximately 2,200 people are diagnosed with diabetes, and about 798,000 people will be diagnosed this year alone. Experts predict that more people will be diagnosed as our society ages and becomes less active and more overweight.

Long-Term Complications

Diabetes can be a silent killer, and unfortunately, is is still a main cause of long-term complications and health care expenses. Diabetes accounts for $92 to $138 billion in health care expenses annually in the United States. Many people first become aware that they have diabetes when they develop one of its life-threatening complications:

  • Blindness. Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in people ages 20 to 74. Each year, 12,000 to 24,000 people lose their sight because of diabetes.
  • Kidney disease. Diabetes is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease, accounting for about 40 percent of new cases.
  • Nerve disease and amputations. About 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of diabetes-related nerve damage, which, in severe forms, can lead to lower-limb amputations. The risk of leg amputation is 15 to 40 times greater for a person with diabetes. Each year more than 56,000 amputations are performed on people with diabetes.
  • Heart disease and stroke. People with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease, which is present in 75 percent of diabetes-related deaths. More than 77,000 deaths are due to heart disease annually. And people with diabetesare 2 to 4 times more likely to suffer a stroke.

If you or someone in your family has been diagnosed with diabetes and is looking for more information and guidance, Grant Regional Health Center has the resources to help. We will work with your physician to design a treatment plan that will help you learn to manage diabetes and improve the quality of your life. Most health insurances provide coverage for a comprehensive diabetes education program.

The good news is that current research shows that people with good control of their diabetes who see their health care team regularly have fewer complications and lead healthier lives. One gentleman with diabetes puts it best: "I'm so glad I've got diabetes...I've never been healthier!"

Types of Diabetes

Type 1

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body does not produce enough insulin. It occurs most often in children and young adults and accounts for 5 percent to 10 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Daily insulin injections are essential for people with type 1 diabetes.

Type 2

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which the body either does not make enough insulin or does not properly use the insulin it makes. It accounts for 90 percent to 95 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes can often control the disorder through weight reduction, improved nutrition and exercise. In some cases, these efforts are insufficient and oral medications and/or insulin injections must also be used.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes affects up to 5 percent of all pregnant women, usually during the second or third trimester, but it disappears when the pregnancy is over. Women who have had gestational diabetes are at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Other Forms of Diabetes

Other rare forms of diabetes can sometimes be triggered by surgery, drugs, malnutrition, infections, or other illnesses and conditions.

Contact Us

Teri Miles or Tracy Ackerman

Your Diabetes Connection Program

608.723.2143

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