Diabetes in the North Country Hospital Sevice Area and What We’re Doing About It
Diabetes is a serious threat to the health of our community. That is why we have included a nutritionist/diabetes educator in the care team at all of our primary care practices. We also have a Certified Diabetes Education program that is based on the highest standards and best practices of the American Association of Diabetes Educators. If you have questions after reading the symptoms and risks below talk to your primary provider or call (802) 334-3264.
What is Diabetes?
Nearly 16 million Americans have diabetes, a disease in which the body does not produce or properly respond to insulin, a hormone needed for daily life. Diabetes affects the way the body uses food and causes sugar levels in the blood to be too high. Over time, high blood sugar levels can severely damage the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, eyes and nerve endings. The most common form of the disease – Type 2 diabetes – can be symptom-free and undetected for many years. Unfortunately, one-third of the people with diabetes are not even aware that they have the disease.
There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes occurs most often in children and teens. It usually appears suddenly and progresses quickly, and it is characterized by an absolute insulin deficiency. Type 2 diabetes occurs most often in overweight adults age 40 and over. Onset is usually gradual and it is characterized by a resistance to insulin.
In Vermont, the rate of diabetes in adults is very high. While the goal of the Vermont Department of Health is for only 2.5 % of adults to ever be diagnosed with diabetes ( http://healthvermont.gov) the overall rate in VT is much higher, with most counties having a rate of over 4.1%. Here in Orleans County, the rate is 5.7%.
Can Diabetes Be Prevented?
It is possible to prevent Type 2 diabetes. Maintaining a healthy weight by adopting healthy eating patterns and healthy patterns of physical activity can help prevent Type 2. These lifestyle behaviors can also help control and reduce the complications of Type 1 diabetes.
Early diagnosis of diabetes gives you early access to education — knowledge and skills to control the disease and its symptoms by learning how to monitor your blood glucose (sugar) level, learning what foods you can eat and those you should avoid, learning about the benefits of physical activity and its effects, and learning how to check the circulation in your hands and feet.
It is also important to know the risk factors for diabetes. Although we cannot control most of these risk factors, some of them are controllable — like being overweight or obese and not getting enough physical activity. Be familiar with all the risk factors for diabetes:
- Age over 45 years
- Physical inactivity
- Having a very large baby or gestational diabetes
- Having a family history of diabetes
- Being African American, Hispanic/ Latino, Asian American, Pacific Islander or American Indian
If You or a Loved One Has Diabetes…
Diabetes is a demanding disease for those who have it. The disease requires a great deal of self-care and self-management. Severe complications can result if left untreated or in poor control. It is important to participate in the educational process and to get the right support to help you identify your goals for diabetes management, as well as to recognize barriers to accomplishing these goals and strategies to improve overall control.
Know, recognize and do something about your symptoms!
Sudden weight loss
Wounds that won’t heal
Numb or tingling hands or feet
What is Available in the North Country Hospital Service Area for Diabetes Education & Prevention?
A number of educational and support programs are available through North Country Hospital.
Healthy Living With Diabetes ~ Diabetes Basics
This three-hour introductory course offers basic information about living with diabetes. With a referral from their primary care provider, newly diagnosed individuals and their families learn about the following topics:
Medications — Orientation to insulin therapy is done on an individual basis.
Monitoring blood glucose levels and how to interpret the results, such as low or high blood
Glucose. Blood glucose meters are available and loaned at no charge as needed.
Basic nutrition and carbohydrate counting
Physical activity and exercise
Emergency support services
Healthy Living One With Diabetes ~-on-One Counseling
With a referral from a primary care provider, these sessions help diabetics to develop individualized treatment plans. This one-on-one time takes the information learned in the Basics class and applies it to each person’s specific situation. Services provided include:
Consultation from a Diabetes Nurse Educator
Initiation to self-monitoring of blood glucose
Initiation to insulin therapy
Annual review of self-care skills
For more information about diabetes education and treatment at North Country Hospital please talk to your primary provider or call The Certified Diabetes Education Program 802-334-3264.