By Tia Lynn Lecorchick staff writer
Morgan Memorial Hospital (MMH) offered a free Diabetes Education class at the Morgan County Library to the public last Saturday, April, 12. The five-hour class was the second diabetes class recently offered by MMH. “This class is an entry level class that focuses on managing your diabetes at home,” said Megan Morris, director of community relations at MMH. “It is great for diabetics, their caretakers, and individuals just wanting to choose a healthier lifestyle. “The class focuses heavily on proper diet and nutrition, the basics of diabetes and how it affects the body, diabetic medications and how they work, as well as other topics pertinent to diabetics such as proper foot care. We are currently considering offering a higher level class that will focus on Advanced Carbohydrate Counting.” “We have been offering the class for several years now,” continued Morris.
“We’ve been fortunate to be able to increase the depth of the class through the use of donor funds that allowed us to purchase food models and educational videos that enhance the experience for attendees.” Morris stressed the importance of combating diabetes and educating the community how to do so. According to Morris, approximately 26 million children and adults have diabetes in the United States.
Of that number, nearly 95 percent have type two diabetes. The disease is even more prevalent in minority and ethnic populations. “These classes are a great opportunity for community members to gain knowledge on diabetes and healthier living,” explained Morris. Genetics play a large role in whether or not an individual is at risk for developing diabetes. Individuals who know that diabetes runs in their family should strongly consider taking the class even if they haven’t been diagnosed. Healthy choices ahead of time can help in prolonging disease onset and in some cases, prevent a diagnosis requiring medication.”
The class was taught by retired certified Diabetic Educator Melanie Bryan. “Prior to retirement Melanie worked for us as a floor nurse, House Supervisor and Manager of our Case Management department. She now works for us on a PRN basis to assist with Community Education classes,” said Morris. Morris assists Bryan with the classes, helping with promotion and planning, IT needs and registration. Morris hopes these classes prevent cases of diabetes and help those who already have diabetes to care for themselves better.
“In most cases, diabetes can be managed,” said Morris. “Individuals and their caretakers must be committed to making healthy decisions. Diabetics are much more successful in managing the disease when they have a strong support system of family and friends who help, encourage and make lifestyle changes with them. When not controlled, diabetes can put individuals at increased risk of all sorts of complications: heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, kidney disease, limb amputation and blindness.”