Education is the key to controlling diabetes
11/5/2015 3:46 PM
Diabetes is a word, not a ‘sentence.’ This is the mantra for diabetics who have found success managing their disorder. The CTMC diabetes team wants everyone to feel this same sense of hope.
Diabetes is increasing in the U.S., and in particular in Texas, at an alarming rate. Parents who are battling diabetes must break the cycle and help their children to eat better, become more active and to take responsibility for their health.
Mario Torres, certified diabetes educator at CTMC, explains the value of education. “Learning opens your horizons. Getting the facts is the first step toward making lifestyle changes. Adjusting your eating, activity and stress levels gets you to the next level.”
The diabetes education program at CTMC has grown tremendously since 2011, when CTMC gained accreditation from the American Association of Diabetes Educators.
To enroll in the program, your family physician refers you to attend diabetes classes. Patients learn how to manage their disease through diet, exercise and medication. Information is presented by CTMC’s dietitian, pharmacist and physical therapist. Insurance covers up to 80 percent of the fees. There are 8 hours of education spread out over two days. Attendees also receive four follow-up visits free of charge. Ideally, the visits are set for one month, three months, six months and one year. There is also a free support group that meets twice a month. Health care speakers share information, and the members encourage each other.
Alberta Nickelson was diagnosed as pre-diabetic and started attending the classes and support group. “Each time I go, I’m reminded to stay on task. I really encourage others to look at it like a job — watching what you eat and do. The members of the group have really been instrumental in keeping me focused. Mario is just awesome. He’s so devoted to the group and the diabetic community.”
The complications of diabetes are widespread and include cardiovascular problems such as heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure. Vision can be affected with disorders like macular degeneration or retinopathy. Nerve damage and kidney disease can also occur.
Torres recommends that diabetics see their full team of health care providers on a regular schedule. A dilated eye exam should be conducted annually, a visit to the podiatrist and neurologist should happen each year and dental exams are recommended twice a year. “With your doctors’ help and if you follow your prescribed program, you will have better outcomes and avoid complications. The message is that diabetes is manageable when you are in control.”
Patricia DeLeon has been battling diabetes for 30 years. “Every day that I wake up, I pray for the desire to eat healthy food and to make sure I get my exercise. My husband, Eddie, is my rock, and he keeps me on track. Together we’re keeping it under control.”
Torres concludes, “Diabetics need to know that there is a community of support here for them. We all need a partner to get through the various phases of management.”
10% of adults in Hays County have diabetes
6% of adults in Texas have pre-diabetes
Diabetes is more common in Native Americans (16%) followed by Blacks (13%) and Hispanics (12%)
85% of people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight