With 10.3 percent of Texans living with diabetes, knowing how to live with and manage the disease is crucial. Identifying the need for community support on this important health matter, Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital (RPMH) will be focusing on diabetes care as the topic of the next Lunch and Learn Seminar on Wednesday, July 10.
“Texas ranks fourth in the nation in the number of residents affected by diabetes. The number of residents in our state with diabetes is slightly higher than the national average,” said Shelly Davis, a registered nurse and diabetes care specialist with Novo Dordisk, the guest presenter at the July seminar. “We want to help people with the disease better manage it, and provide awareness for those who might be at risk or at the pre-diabetes stage.”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Nearly one-third of those with the disease are unaware, causing a local urge for Nolan County residents to become educated about the facts and to get tested.
“Knowing the facts, your risks, and how to get screened for diabetes is important as the effects of this disease can lead to serious health complications or even death,” said Davis. “If you are among the 20.8 million Americans living with diabetes, then there are many steps you can take to manage your health and reduce its side effects.”
Diabetes is a disease that causes the pancreas to alter the production of insulin — an important hormone that converts sugar and starches into energy the body needs. If the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin, then the amount of sugar in the blood rises uncontrollably, causing a deadly health risk.
According to the American Diabetes Association, there are three common types of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed in children and young adults. Affecting only five percent of people with diabetes, individuals with this type have bodies that do not produce insulin.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form where the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin produced, causing health issues.
Lastly, gestational diabetes is typically found in women during the 24th week of pregnancy. It is important for women to talk with their doctor to manage blood glucose levels during pregnancy, as this type does not mean a woman had diabetes prior to conceiving or will have it after giving birth.
Warning signs of diabetes include excessive thirst, frequent urination, drowsiness and itching, blurred vision, excessive weight, tingling in the extremities, fatigue and skin infections. Other signs include slow healing of cuts and scratches, especially on the feet.
People at the highest risk of diabetes are those who are overweight, those with diabetic relatives, and those over the age of 35. Statistics also show that women are at a higher risk for diabetes, along with those with a family history of the disease.
Davis explained that diabetes can be discovered with a blood test. This screening can help your physician determine what stage of the disease you have and how you can maintain optimum health.
Diabetes is actually a family of diseases which can have an impact on virtually all systems of the human body if not properly maintained through diet, exercise and/or medication.
“One’s life expectancy can be reduced by approximately one-third,” Davis added. “If not managed, it can also have a significant impact on your body through blindness, destroy tissues through infections such as gangrene, and cause disease of the kidney and heart.”
Avoiding fatal health risks associated with diabetes is possible. For example, annual foot examinations are encouraged to identify and/or prevent high-risk foot conditions caused by gangrene.
People who experience foot conditions related to diabetes should be screened more frequently or, as recommended by their physician. Examinations are critical in preventing debilitating effects or possible amputation.
As with other diseases and illnesses, everyone can benefit from a yearly physical. Screening for diabetes for those who fall in the high risk categories should be done annually.
The diabetes support group at RPMH provides locals with consultation and support services to develop a diet and exercise program that helps individuals better manage the disease.
“Don’t let diabetes control your life,” Davis urged. “Know the facts, understand your risks, and always talk with your physician about this and other medical conditions that may affect your health.”
To learn more about diabetes care and support options at RPMH, don’t miss the Lunch and Learn Seminar on July 10 at the RPMH Emergency Department classroom. The event will be held from noon until 1 p.m., and includes a brown bag lunch.
The seminar is free to attend, but space is limited and expected to reach capacity. Interested individuals must register before July 9, by calling 325-235-1701 ext. 221.
Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital provides healthcare for those in the communities they serve. Founded in 1976, Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital offers a wealth of medical services including: 24 hour emergency care, advanced radiology services including CT scanning and MRIs, outpatient lab, physical therapy, surgical services, swing bed services, patient education, home health and assistive services, and more. For additional information, please visit www.rpmh.net .