A diagnosis of diabetes or being told one is at risk for developing the disease can raise a host of questions: What is it? How can I stop it? How can I control it?
Tanner Health System’s Get Healthy, Live Well is offering a free class to serve as a primer for those at risk of — or recently diagnosed with — type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes 101 is a two-hour introduction to type 2 diabetes, discussing the risks of the disease, what causes it, how to prevent it and effective strategies in managing it. The class will be led by Peggy Cooper, RN, a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator, as well as Claudia Weekes, RD, LD, a registered and licensed dietitian.
Diabetes rates in the United States have almost doubled in the past 20 years, with nearly 10 percent of the population now living with the disease according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In west Georgia, the rate is even higher, with more than 11 percent of adults diagnosed with diabetes — and many more at risk.
The rate for diabetes in Carroll, Haralson and Heard counties is higher than the state and national averages — and only nine states have more people living with diabetes than Georgia. Poorly managed diabetes is the No. 1 cause of kidney failure, lower limb amputation and adult-onset blindness, and individuals with diabetes can spend 2.5-times as much on medical costs than those who do not have diabetes.
Get Healthy, Live Well offers several more extensive programs for those who are at risk for diabetes or who need help controlling the disease, including the Diabetes Prevention Program, Living Well With Diabetes and the Living Well Workshop. These in-depth, clinically based programs, however, focus on achieving sustainable lifestyle changes over a series of weeks or even months — participants in the Diabetes Prevention Program, for instance, typically lose on average more than 5 percent of their body weight by the end of the 12-month program.
Diabetes 101, however, is intended to offer less depth but better access to a fundamental understanding of diabetes. Rather than a program stretching for weeks or months, Diabetes 101 is a single, two-hour class, conveniently offered in the evenings.
“It’s hard for a primary care provider to provide a complete overview of diabetes in a clinic setting,” said Cooper. “Often, patients are left with a couple of pieces of literature from the practice and a whole lot of questions. With Diabetes 101, we can bring these people in and talk to them about their bodies, what risk factors — like diet and excess weight — can lead to diabetes and, if they have the disease, how they can take control of it.”
Cooper said, hopefully, the class will help guide people into Get Healthy, Live Well’s more intensive programs so they can learn even more about their health.
Upcoming classes are already scheduled, beginning in Carrollton in April and Villa Rica in May. Each scheduled Diabetes 101 class begins at 5:30 p.m. Registration is available online at www.tanner.org/diabetes101. For more information or to register by phone, call 770-214-CARE (2273).