By Kathy Hubbard
I’m willing to bet that not one of you woke up this morning and said to yourself, “Sure hope I get diabetes today.” I am also willing to bet that several of you woke up this morning and said to yourself, “Sure hope these symptoms I’m having don’t mean I have diabetes.”
Safe bets? Sure. The fact is that over eight million people have undiagnosed diabetes. Are you one of them? Or are you one of the 21 million people who know they have it?
If you are interested in getting more information about the disease and how it can affect you or a loved one, you’ll want to attend the free Diabetes Day Pit Stop on Monday, November 2 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Bonner General Health.
“This will be an interactive event where participants can actually have basic blood and urine tests performed, learn about complications and treatment options,” wrote registered dietician Mary Kaiser, one of the hospital’s educators. “Several vendors will be available to present and demonstrate new drugs and equipment. Screenings will be done and recommendations made if results are outside of normal limits. These could include visiting your primary care physician for additional follow up or tests.”
This “pit stop” is a one-stop for anyone who wants to get better educated about this disease that is labeled as a global epidemic by many leading sources. Kaiser outlined what participants can expect to learn:
Let’s start with your weight. “The chance of developing diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart disease is greatly increased with excess weight,” Kaiser said. “It has been determined that losing even 5 to 10 percent of a person’s total body weight reduces the risk of each of these medical issues. BGH dietitians will be available to take patients’ height and weight and calculate BMI (Body Mass Index) and discuss programs available to help with weight control.”
Since people with diabetes are more prone to high blood pressure and high blood pressure can lead to a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases, staff from BGH’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Department will be there to take blood pressure readings.
“Audrey Buck and Susan Tucker, both Certified Diabetes Educators and Registered Dietitians, and Kathy Campbell, nurse from Family Health Center, will test participants’ blood glucose, A1C levels and urine protein. These are screenings that are useful in helping detect diabetes and identifying how well it is being managed,” Kaiser said.
Lauri Anderson from dentist Steve Anderson’s practice will be on hand to perform mouth and gum examinations since “poor blood glucose control makes gum problems more likely.”
The staff from Lake Pend Oreille School District will be at the pit stop to give visual acuity exams because blindness is more prevalent in people with diabetes.
And it doesn’t stop there. More predominant in diabetes patients is the loss of feeling in your legs and feet (peripheral neuropathy if you want the proper term). Jody Thoreson, RN, BSN, will not only take a look at your feet for assessment, but will teach you how to do-it-yourself.
Plus Mauria Prince, pharmacist at BGH will be there to answer any questions you might have about the medications you’re taking, about drug interactions, side effects and to check your list of meds for duplications.
“Anyone who is currently testing their blood glucose at home should bring their meter to the event to check for accuracy. The hospital laboratory will provide a ‘calibrated’ meter so that participants can compare their meter to the hospital meter to make sure it is accurate.
“Used sharps, lancets and needles will be accepted for proper disposal during the event. They must be packaged in a puncture proof container,” Kaiser said.
As you can see, this event covers a lot of ground. Remember it’s free. And, remember it’s confidential. As always, BGH is here for your health!
Kathy Hubbard is a member of Bonner General Health Foundation Advisory Council. She can be reached at 264-4029 or firstname.lastname@example.org.