HSHS St. Joseph's Hospital in Highland is educating the community about diabetes prevention and management during National Diabetes Awareness Month. Since 1991, World Diabetes Day has been observed Nov. 14 each year in response to growing concerns about the rise of diabetes around the world.
According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), more than 463 million adults throughout the world currently have diabetes. That equates to one in 11 people living with the disease. Most cases of diabetes are type 2 diabetes, which is largely preventable through regular physical activity and a healthy and balanced diet.
“Symptoms of type 2 diabetes can develop slowly and be subtle,” says Lisa Ketchem, RN, diabetes patient educator at both St. Joseph’s and Holy Family Hospitals. “In fact, many people with the disease may have no symptoms. That's why knowing the signs is so important so you can watch for even minor changes in these areas.” It's also why your doctor may test you for it if you're at risk, even if you don't have symptoms.
Knowing the symptoms of diabetes can be helpful in the prevention and treatment of the disease. The IDF estimates one in two people with diabetes remain undiagnosed. Symptoms can be mild and go unnoticed, but they include:
- Frequent urination
- Feeling thirsty
- Feeling hungry, even when eating
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
- Weight loss
- Tingling, pain or numbness in hands and feet
Because these symptoms could be caused by a number of things, talk with your doctor if any of these symptoms persist for you. He/she can evaluate your risk and completed bloodwork which can diagnose diabetes. You can also take a one-minute Diabetes Risk Test through the American Diabetes Association to find out if you are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The risk test can be found at diabetes.org/risk-test.
The good news is – you can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Even if you have prediabetes, there are many factors you can control, such as diet and physical activity. Prediabetes is a condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes and even heart disease. Seeing a dietitian and diabetes educator early on can help prevent diabetes and complications from uncontrolled diabetes.
Local Services Available
Licensed dietitians on the clinical nutrition and diabetes services team at HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospitals in Breese and Highland and HSHS Holy Family Hospital are available to help those with diabetes with special diets and weight management.
Counseling appointments are available with the licensed dietitians at any of the hospitals. Appointments are scheduled Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information or to make an appointment, contact Kayla Barnes, RD, at 618-526-5336 or email email@example.com.
All three HSHS hospitals also offer a Diabetes Self-Management Education program where a registered dietitian and diabetes patient educator can help you successfully manage diabetes through medication, diet and exercise, and live life to the fullest. The Diabetes Self-Management Education program at these local hospitals is recognized by the American Diabetes Association, which allows Medicare to cover the cost of diabetes education and dietitian consultations for those with diabetes. A physician referral is required for this program. Upon referral, consult your insurance provider to ask if you are covered. To find out more information, contact Kayla Barnes or Lisa Ketchem, RN, BSN, at 618-526-5743 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Diabetes education is also provided through an online support group, offering helpful resources and engagement with others going through the same journey. To join the group, search Facebook for: Diabetes Support Group: Bond, Madison and Clinton counties and request to join.
Those living with diabetes need to be especially careful about potential or existing chronic wounds, especially with their feet. Thanks to a recent donation by the Highland Lions Club, the clinical nutrition and diabetes services team now has new educational supplies and foot models that focus on proper foot health, which will be used for further patient and community education.
If you develop a diabetic foot ulcer, HSHS St. Joseph’s Highland also has a Wound Care Center that provides specialized treatment for chronic or non-healing wounds, which are sores or wounds that have not significantly improved from conventional treatments. Contact St. Joseph’s Wound Care Center to learn more about diabetic foot ulcers or if you have a wound that will not heal. To schedule a consultation, call 618-651-2502. Patients may be seen with or without a physician's referral.
For more information on diabetes, visit diabetes.org or worlddiabetesday.org.