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November has arrived, bringing beautiful fall colors, cooler temperatures and the anticipation of Thanksgiving gatherings. Another event that occurs during November is National Diabetes Month. You may wonder why a whole month is set aside to raise awareness of diabetes. These alarming statistics help answer that question. More than 30 million U.S. adults have diabetes, yet one in four are not aware that they have diabetes. One third of our population will develop diabetes during their lifetime. Diabetes is the fifth-leading cause of death in Wilson County and is a leading cause of blindness, amputation and kidney failure nationwide.
The theme for national diabetes month is Everyday Reality. The American Diabetes Association chose this theme because managing diabetes is a daily reality for those with diabetes. Keeping track of medicines, testing, exercising and making good food choices can be exhausting, especially when it doesn’t seem to improve your numbers.
The good news is that Wilson Medical Center is here to help you fight that battle. Diabetes education, nutrition counseling and the diabetes support group provide tools to help you avoid diabetes complications and experience long-term success.
Judy Elks was at the end of her rope and not sure where to turn for help. Her blood sugars were out of control and diabetes medications were not working well. Her ability to work and enjoy life was declining. Her primary care doctor referred her to Dr. Kris Reddy, a board-certified endocrinologist who practices at Wilson Endocrinology.
Judy states, “Dr. Reddy has been so supportive and understanding. He encourages me to stay on track.”
Judy was referred for outpatient diabetes education and attributes that to ‘’getting my life back.”
“I was very nervous before I met with you [Martha]. I expected to be told things I couldn’t eat and to eat things I didn’t like, but you didn’t,” she said. “You helped me see that I could eat most anything, once I learned how to check the carbs and serving size.”
The plate method is the tool that Judy found most helpful in planning meals.
“I fill half my plate with low-carb vegetables, a quarter with protein and add the carb foods in smaller amounts. It’s really simple.”
Learning what to look for on food labels also helped her make choices while shopping. Judy has improved her A1C from 9.9 percent to 6.1 percent and has found a medication that works well for her. Better yet, she feels like a “whole new person.”
Judy says, “If one person reads this and sees that there is help available that would make me feel good.”
Tanya Roberson, mom of a busy preschooler, received a diabetes diagnosis earlier this year.
“One day I felt OK, the next I felt awful. I knew I needed help or I wouldn’t be able to take care of my family,” she said.
She was also referred to Dr. Reddy, who outlined the long-term goals, then she made an appointment with the diabetes educator at Wilson Medical Center.
“The education was life-changing,” she said. “From learning about the impact of foods, activity and stress to the psycho-social aspects of diabetes, everything came together with that meeting. It wasn’t easy, but I’ve had support from my family, you [Martha], and the diabetes support group. To know that you aren’t alone and can learn from others with diabetes what works and doesn’t work as well is so helpful.”
Her hard work paid off as her A1C dropped from 9.5 percent to 7.5 percent since February.
Tanya states “I feel incredible now that I have my sugar under control. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done — to take time to care for myself so that I can take care of the people I love.”
If diabetes is an everyday reality for you or a loved one, remember that Wilson Medical Center is here to help.
Martha Gurley is a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator at Wilson Medical Center.