If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with diabetes, you’re not alone. Millions of people have been diagnosed with diabetes, and South Carolina ranks seventh highest in the nation for diabetes diagnoses. South Carolina had the sixth highest adult population with diabetes in the United States. In Anderson County, one in seven people have diabetes – a figure that continues to grow according to South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and AnMed Health wants to make diabetes education a priority in the community. AnMed Health’s certified diabetes educators help patients improve their health outcome by promoting the development of self-management skills.
AnMed Health’s diabetes education program is officially recognized by the American Diabetes Association. “From inpatient consultations to outpatient classes, the diabetes education program helps patients get the resources they need to live successfully with diabetes,” said Karen Rosato, out-patient program quality coordinator for AnMed Health’s diabetes education program. The outpatient educators offer the following classes: general diabetes education, insulin instruction, advanced carbohydrate counting, gestational diabetes and diabetes updates.
“There is a lot of stigma surrounding people with diabetes. I think this is a major barrier in people not seeking diabetes education and support services. The negative stigma surrounding diabetes can lead to feelings of embarrassment, guilt, anxiety, and low self-esteem. These negative emotions can result in higher levels of stress which we work with patients to address,” said Rosato.
Patients are taught to make healthy eating choices, increase physical activity, adhere to their medication regimen and use diabetic devices – all of which decrease the risk for diabetes complications. Diabetes education and support is covered by most insurance plans including Medicare and Medicaid. A physician referral is required to schedule an appointment.
Diabetes occurs when the body does not create or use insulin correctly. Sugar from food digested makes blood sugar levels rise. In response to increased sugar, cells in the pancreas release a hormone called insulin which unlocks the cell so that sugar can be used as a source of energy.
There are two common types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. With Type 1 diabetes, the body makes little or no insulin due to an overactive autoimmune system. People with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day. “There is a lot of confusion around Type 1 diabetes because Type 1 has been previously thought of as only a childhood disease – however 50% of newly diagnosed Type 1 diabetes cases each year occur in adults,” said Patricia Neely, lead inpatient educator for AnMed Health’s diabetes education program.
With Type 2 diabetes, the body prevents insulin from working correctly which results in high blood sugar. Type 2 is related to obesity, family history and having certain ethnic backgrounds. “Type 2 is more common in older adults, but an increase in the number of children with obesity has led to more cases of Type 2 diabetes in younger people,” Neely said.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet as well as making regular appointments with a physician can drastically decrease the risk of diabetes related health issues. For more information about diabetes education at AnMed Health, call 864.512.4145.