By Sadie James
Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare in association with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the American Association of Diabetes Education (AADE) has created two programs that offer information, education and condition management techniques for those with diabetes or who are at risk for developing diabetes. The programs are IT’S NOT DIABETES… YET, Controlling your risks for diabetes and the DIABETES MANAGEMENT PROGRAM.
Diabetes impacts entire body
Diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels normal. Insulin is the hormone needed to convert sugar, starches and other foods into energy. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes are unusual thirst or weight loss, frequent urinations, extreme hunger, fatigue or irritability. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes are any of the above symptoms or frequent infections, cuts and bruises that are slow to heal, recurring skin, gum or bladder infections, blurred vision or numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should have your blood sugar level checked.
In addition to type 1 and type 2, Gestational Diabetes is another form of diabetes that happens during pregnancy usually around the 24th week. This does not mean that you had diabetes when you became pregnant or that you or your baby will continue to have diabetes after giving birth. However, that is a risk and it is important that you follow your doctor’s recommendations on controlling blood sugar.
Diabetes left untreated can result in serious complication ranging from heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease, nervous system disease and amputation.
Diabetes’ impact on African Americans
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) 25.8 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. That represents 8.3 percent of the total U.S. population. There are 18.8 million diagnosed, 7 million undiagnosed and 79 million prediabetes cases. Over 26 percent of all people 20 years and younger are diabetic. Diabetes affects 13 million men and 12.6 million women. Nearly 2 million new cases were diagnosed in 2010.
Nationally, 12.6 percent of all African American are diabetic. In 2010 alone over 5.5 million African Americans were diagnosed and undiagnosed with diabetes. According to the Institute for Alternative Futures www.altfutures.org trends indicate that by 2025 those numbers will climb to over 9.5 million. Those statistics are alarming and demand our attention.
Type 1 diabetes is most prevalent in children and young adults. It was once known as juvenile diabetes. Only 5 percent of people in the United States have type 1. It is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form representing 90 percent of all diabetes cases nationwide. Those numbers are increasing rapidly due to the rise in obesity and lifestyle choices.
Type 2 diabetes is growing among African Americans
In an interview with Dr. Paul Hartlaub, MD, MSPH, Family and Preventive Medicine, Medical Director of Clinical Quality, Wheaton Franciscan Medical Group, some astounding facts were revealed. As of last year, Wheaton Franciscan Medical Group was treating 9,000 patients who are known diabetics. Dr. Hartlaub services many of those patients and he estimates that nearly 20 percent of his patients have diabetes. About 70 percent of his patients are African American.
It’s not too late to control your risks
Prediabetes is when blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Prediabetes almost always exists prior to the onset of type 2.
If you have “prediabetes,” IT’S NOT DIABETES..YET is a Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare program you should explore. It is a four week program that provides the steps to lead you to a healthier weight and lifestyle. Topics of discussion include
- understanding prediabetes;
- reducing your risk for diabetes through lifestyle changes;
- setting reachable goals for personal health;
- learning strategies for healthy eating, including smart shopping, menu planning and dining out;
- how to work movement into your everyday life;
- tracking your progress toward your goals;
- identifying resources and opportunities for continued success
- plus a focus on overall improvement in your quality of life.
According to Colleen Kristbaum, MS, RD, CD, Director of Clinical Nutrition & Diabetes Management for Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Southeast Wisconsin, if you are overweight, losing just 7 to 10 percent of your body weight can greatly increase your life span and reduce your risk for diabetes. Her advice is to eat healthy and stay active. It’s amazing what you can prevent. That means if you weigh 200 pounds, losing 14 to 20 pounds can greatly decrease your chance of developing diabetes.
If you already have diabetes
The DIABETES MANAGEMENT PROGRAM is open to people with all forms of diabetes. In a small group setting, the program offers its participants the tools, support and encouragement to effectively manage their diabetes. Wheaton Franciscan Diabetes Care has partnered with the International Diabetes Center (IDC) which connects diabetes management plans and treatments with partners worldwide to provide the most up-to-date information and treatment options. The IDC model focuses on interaction between the patient, their physicians and diabetes educators.
The Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Diabetes Management program is led by registered nurses, and registered dietitians. The Diabetes Educators are specifically trained to help patients learn and understand how to control their condition. Their sessions include topics such as:
- the diabetes disease process;
- nutrition (including carbohydrate counting);
- home glucose monitoring,
- physical activity;
- risk reduction;
- coping skills and
- strategies and problem solving.
Classes for both the prediabetes and diabetes programs are held at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare facilities in Brookfield, Brown Deer, Franklin, Milwaukee, Racine and Wauwatosa. Visit mywheaton. org or call WheatonDirect at 1- 888-9WHEATON for locations and class schedules.
The Diabetes Management Program is also developing a gestational diabetes program in collaboration with the Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Pre-Natal Assessment Centers and the Wheaton Franciscan – St. Joseph Women’s Outpatient Center.
Keep this in mind
Special thanks to Dr. Hartlaub and Colleen Kristbaum. They are both very knowledgeable and passionate about the subject. When asked what is the most important message they would like to convey.
“I want the young people to know the importance of maintaining a healthy weight. Don’t wait until your metabolism slows down. Realize that maintaining a healthy weight will add so many quality years to their lives”, said Kristbaum.
“It’s wonderful to get the word out. This can really make a difference. I want people to know that if they have diabetes the situation is not hopeless, It’s hopeful. Get checked. We offer programs to help you manage diabetes,” said Dr. Hartlaub