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Learning to Live With Diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the total prevalence of diabetes increased 13.5 percent from 2005 to 2007. Last fall, Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital opened a center dedicated to addressing the needs of diabetes patients in Arlington and surrounding communities.

The Center for Diabetes Self-Management Education at Texas Health Arlington Memorial provides patient education that meets criteria established by the ADA. Focusing on patients with type I diabetes, type II diabetes, pre-diabetes and gestational diabetes, the center provides an individualized assessment in conjunction with the treating physician to help determine how to best manage the disease.

Common symptoms of diabetes include:

• Blurry vision

• Extreme or unexplained fatigue

• Extreme thirst

• Frequent urination, especially during the night

“The idea behind the center is to help patients better manage diabetes with guidance and education,” says Bette Akpan, director of Education at Texas Health Arlington Memorial.

Sessions are conducted by a registered nurse and/or a registered dietitian with specialized training in diabetes care and cover a range of topics including nutritional management, physical activity, safely using medications and monitoring glucose levels. Ultimately, the goal of the center is to help diabetes patients prevent complications and implement behavioral changes.

“Patients feel empowered when they have the knowledge necessary to properly control their diabetes,” says Akpan. “That can make all the difference in their quality of life.”

For more information about diabetes education at a Texas Health hospital, visit TexasHealth.org/diabetes or call 1-877-THR-WELL (1-877-847-9355). (Spring 2009)

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