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    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | February 10th, 2019

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    This past week, I had the opportunity to listen to my friend teach the first two parts of an eight part diabetic education class.  You would think that most of the people attending the class were newly diagnosed with diabetes, however that was not the case. Unfortunately about half were people who have been diagnosed with diabetes for over 10 years. Their biggest regret was that they did not take a diabetes education class earlier.  When asked why not – they said:

    “My doctor never referred me.

    “I was told about the course, but never found the time.

    “My friend/relative told me about the course.

    I thought about the last comment, “my friend/relative told me about the course” and how much influence we all have. If we learn something, we should share the information to help a friend. The diabetic education classes work and do help patients understand their disease so that they have better control of their disease.

    Here are my five take-aways  from the class I would like to share:

    1. Diabetes is a chronic condition. Once you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you have it for life. The goal of treatment is to manage the condition so that you donot suffer from the negative consequences of diabetes – heart disease, kidney disease, amputation, and more.

    2. When we talk about diabetes, we sometimes call it a problem with sugar (glucose). Diabetes is really a problem with insulin. Insulin is what helps us regulate the sugar in the body. If our body does not produce insulin, or if our body does not produce enough insulinor if the insulin in our body is not working well, we develop diabetes.

    3. Protein and fat that we digest does not affect the sugar in our body. It is the carbohydrates that we ingest that affects the sugar in our body. We need carbohydrates for energy. The type of carbohydrates we ingest make a difference. That is where diabetic teaching is so important in teaching you what to eat. 

    4. The ABCs of diabetes management include: Monitoring your hemoglobin A1C, maintaining a normal blood pressure, and making sure yourcholesterol is normal.

    5. Lifestyle modifications include: Quitting tobacco, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, nutrition and reducing stress.

    As we approach Valentine’s Day this Wednesday, part of taking care of our loved ones is not just buying flowers or chocolates but telling them about things to keep them healthy. If you know anyone that is a diabetic or any persons with prediabetes, please tell them to sign up for a diabetes course. When you know more about your disease, you are able to manage it better. For people diagnosed with prediabetes, we know that half the people who take a course can actually prevent diabetes.

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