November is National Diabetes Month. If you have diabetes, the Sampson County Health Department advocates the management of your diabetes as early as possible to help prevent diabetes-related health problems in the future.
According to the State of the County Report in 2015, diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death in Sampson County.
What is Diabetes? Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems, such as heart disease, nerve damage, eye problems, and kidney disease. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to regulate sugar levels. When you have diabetes, your body either does not make enough insulin or cannot use its own insulin as well as it should. This results in elevated sugar levels in your blood. You can take steps to prevent diabetes or manage it.
Diabetes is a serious disease that requires self-management education and support as early as possible to prevent diabetes-related health problems in the future. Research has shown that managing diabetes early can help prevent diabetes-related health problems such as kidney disease, vision loss, heart disease and stroke. Managing diabetes is a balancing act. Self-management behaviors include maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, making healthy food choices, and taking medications as prescribed. Diabetes self-management education and support can improve quality of life and increase healthy coping skills, and decrease diabetes-related distress.
The Sampson County Health Department offers a Diabetes Self-Management Education Program for residents of Sampson County who have been diagnosed with diabetes, pre-diabetes or gestational diabetes. The program includes one-on-one counseling and group sessions. The first visit will include an initial assessment, followed by the class that focuses on topics such as:
• Defining diabetes. What it means to you.
• Nutrition and how to build a healthy eating plan
• The importance of exercise
• Controlling Blood Sugar (A1C Levels)
• Managing Medications
• How to prevent Diabetes-Related Health Problems
• Preventing Complications
The program also provides follow-up refresher classes that provides updates to Diabetes car. The Program offers helpful incentives, examples of healthy foods and ways to build your own healthy eating plan, and educational material on how to live well with diabetes. To participate in the program, you will need a referral from your physician. Contact the Sampson County Health Department at 910-592-1131 ext. 4249 or 4240 for more information on how you can join our Diabetes Self-Management Education Program.
Amy Lucas is a registered nurse at the Sampson County Health Department.