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The Key to Managing Diabetes Education

Diabetes catches many people by surprise, which is why the American Diabetes Association
(ADA) estimates that about one-third of the 24 million Americans with diabetes don’t even
realize they have it. If you are facing a diagnosis of diabetes, Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas is here to help you take control of your health.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body’s cells are unable to effectively use insulin — a hormone needed for the body to convert sugar to energy. When this happens, the result can be symptoms such as blurry vision, fatigue, increased hunger and thirst, increased urination and unexplained weight loss — all indicators that high levels of blood sugar have built up within the body.

“Because diabetes symptoms are so vague, everyone age 45 and older should follow the ADA’s recommendation to be screened for the disease at least every three years,” says Suzanne Weldon, R.D., L.D., diabetes educator at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas. “Those at higher risk because of family history, obesity or ethnic background (African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders) should speak to a
physician about beginning screenings at a younger age.”

Getting the Help You Need

The ADA confirms a diagnosis of diabetes based on a fasting blood glucose level of 126 mg/dL or above. In this situation, lifestyle changes are needed to avoid complications that can arise, such as circulation issues, vision loss and heart disease.

“Statistics show that the more educated a person is about diabetes, the greater the likelihood of applying that information to help control the disease,” Weldon says. “Seeing a diabetes educator and going through a formal diabetes education program is critical to success.”

Because Type 2 diabetes is a self-managed disease, those diagnosed with it need to understand how their behaviors affect their condition. A good way to learn is through a formal diabetes education program.

Prior to attending the Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas 10-hour, ADA-approved diabetes education program, newly diagnosed patients come to the hospital for an initial assessment. At this consultation, diabetes educators can determine how much the patient already understands about his or her condition.

Then, the patient will come to the center for three days of three-hour group classes, exploring topics that include an overview of diabetes, blood glucose monitoring, prevention of complications, and nutrition and exercise planning.

One-on-one follow-up consultations are available as needed.

“Managing diabetes takes a lot of work, but knowledge is power,” Weldon says. “If you’re armed with the awareness you’ve acquired in a diabetes education program, you’ll have a better chance of success.”

To learn more about diabetes education programs available at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, call 1-800-4-Presby (1-800-477-3729).

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