Contributed by Sheree Stachura, JD, BSN, LHRM, WCC, RN-BC and Eileen Woolums, RN, BSN, CDE
November is American Diabetes Month!
Almost everyone knows someone with diabetes. There are 29 million people in the US who have it. Can you look at someone and just know they have diabetes? Maybe, but more than likely, you can’t. Diabetes is a sneaky disease. Many people don’t feel any different until symptoms of diabetic complications occur, such as numbness/tingling or pain in the feet or lower legs, vision changes, or heart trouble. The problem is, when symptoms like these develop, possible damage to the body has already occurred.
This is why healthcare providers strongly encourage people with diabetes to take very good care of themselves. Diabetes damages nerves and blood vessels, which are found everywhere in the body. When damaged, other health problems can occur – nerve disorders, heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, loss of vision, and poor circulation. These are all conditions that greatly impact the health of the person with diabetes.
The good news is that eating healthy, being active, taking medications as needed, and getting routine checkups have all been shown to greatly reduce the chances of suffering these long term complications.
Gibson Area Hospital provides many valuable resources for people with diabetes. A Certified Diabetes Educator is available to help people with diabetes understand their disease and their treatment plan, as well as identify strategies to make it easier to recognize and deal with related conditions. In addition, Gibson Area Hospital has a registered dietician who not only teaches people about healthy eating choices, but also helps create menus that people can live with.
Because diabetes touches every aspect of life, a Diabetes Support Group was formed at Gibson Area Hospital to bring together people of all levels of diabetes who are experiencing similar lifestyle changes as they manage their disease. In addition to offering social and behavioral support, the group, led by a Certified Diabetes Educator, brings in experts in different specialties to explore diabetes-related issues and answer questions. These learning opportunities help individuals gain more control when dealing with diabetes.
The Advanced Wound Healing Clinic, also located at Gibson Area Hospital, is available for diabetic people who have an open sore that is not healing. Not only does the Wound Clinic provide immediate care for the wound that is already present to help avoid infection and promote healing, but the staff provides education about preventative measures that people can take to prevent more sores from developing.
For more information, please contact Certified Diabetes Educator Eileen Woolums, RN, BSN, CDE, at 217-784-4093, or Sheree Stachura, JD, BSN, LHRM, WCC, RN-BC, Director, Advanced Wound Healing Clinic, Outpatient Clinic, & Cardiopulmonary Rehab, at 217-784-2776.