Tis the Season of Diabetes Awareness

Joy Brazier, RN Health Dept.

November 11, 2013

These brisk cool mornings, along with the beautiful autumn colors are signs that the holidays are fast approaching. Many Sampsonians are already busy planning their holiday dinners! For most of us, the holiday season means enjoying our favorite holiday pastime of over indulgence, and you can already taste that savory turkey with stuffing and mouthwatering sweet potato pie. The holiday season is however, a bit more complex for people diagnosed with Diabetes. For persons living with Diabetes the holiday season means increased awareness, counting those carbohydrates, meal planning, portion control, and maybe even exercising a bit more. This time of year is not only one of joy, but can also be a time of increased stress for people with Diabetes. What gifts do I buy? How do I stay within financial means during the season? What do I prepare a holiday meal that will make others happy and allow me to eat like I should at the same time? When I am visiting, how do I control what I eat without offending family and friends? Questions like these pose the risk of increased stress, and elevated stress levels can cause increased blood glucose levels in persons with Diabetes.

According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention’s 2010 Diabetes Data and Trend Survey, approximately 13 percent of Sampson County’s population has been diagnosed with Diabetes. Even more shocking is the fact that over 2 percent of the county’s population has Diabetes and is unaware that they have the disease. This does not include the additional 6 percent of residents that have Pre-Diabetes or the 10 percent of pregnant women that develop Gestational Diabetes. One could conclude that maybe it’s our southern diets and sedentary lifestyle that results in this prevalence of the disease or maybe it’s just the hand we were dealt, those good ole genetics. Whatever the cause, it is important for persons with Diabetes to realize that life goes own. The disease can be managed effectively, and the Sampson County Health Department has a program to aide persons diagnosed with Diabetes in doing just that!

The Diabetes Self-Management Program (DSMP) at the Sampson County Health Department caters to individuals diagnosed with Pre-Diabetes, Type I, Type II, and Gestational Diabetes. DSMP focuses on the holistic management of Diabetes. The program provides a variety of self skills to learn how to manage Diabetes. Education regarding Diabetes and all of its implications, learning how to control the disease, and support are key aspects when it comes to managing Diabetes. During this season, we urge family members to acknowledge the everyday struggles their loved ones with Diabetes endure, offer support and an ear to listen. Diabetes self-management is a team effort! Individuals may have Diabetes, but Diabetes does not have the individual! The program stresses that individuals with Diabetes realize that if they “fall off the wagon”, it’s okay get right back on, and to remember you have Diabetes, Diabetes does not have you!

The Sampson County Health Department Diabetes Program is offered to all Sampson County residents that have Pre-Diabetes, Type I, Type II or Gestational Diabetes. Medicaid, Medicare and insurances are accepted. We urge those with Diabetes and family and friends of those with Diabetes to call to learn more about the program. For more information about the DSMP Program or to enroll in the program, please call 910-592-1131, ext. 4249 or 4240.