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  • Defend Against Diabetes by Education and Awareness

Published on October 30, 2013

Defend Against Diabetes by Education and Awareness

By Susan Barnes RN, CDE
Avera Sacred Heart Hospital

November is American Diabetes Month® led by the American Diabetes Association with the goal to raise awareness and understanding of diabetes, its consequences, management and prevention of Type 2 diabetes. The Association launched a socially focused initiative for American Diabetes Month®, called A Day in the Life of Diabetes, to demonstrate the impact diabetes has on our families and communities nationwide. Diabetes doesn’t stop. It is 24/7, 365 days a year. To showcase the extraordinary effort it takes to live a day with the disease, the American Diabetes Association will continue to ask people to submit a personal image to the Association’s Facebook mosaic representing what A Day in the Life of Diabetes means to them.  View success stories or learn how you can submit your personal image and story during American Diabetes Month by visiting ADA at or , or by calling 1-800-DIABETES.

Before people develop diabetes, they most frequently have “prediabetes”, blood sugar levels ranging 101-125 mg/dl. This condition puts you at higher risk of Type 2 Diabetes. There are no clear symptoms of prediabetes. Recent estimates project that as many as one in three American adults will have diabetes in 2050, and an additional 79 million Americans are at high risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes. If the present trend continues, one in three children born today will develop diabetes in their lifetime.  If you are at risk for diabetes, see your health care provider to discuss how to change your risk and get a simple blood test (either a fasting glucose or an A1C). You can make a change for life and do something about it. Research shows that early intervention can lower you risk of having diabetes by 58%. You must first identify your risk, and then educate yourself on how to change your lifestyle. A National Diabetes Prevention Program is offered at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital. This program helps you learn how to change your lifestyle to prevent Type 2 Diabetes. Groups meet for 16 weekly sessions and six monthly follow-up sessions with a trained Lifestyle Coach. If you are interested, talk to your doctor or call Avera Sacred Heart Hospital 605-668-8279

Below are a few questions to determine if you could be at risk of diabetes:

  • Are you a woman who has had a baby weighing more than 9 pounds at birth?
  • Do you have a sister or brother with diabetes?
  • Do you have a parent with diabetes?
  • Do you get less than 150 minutes of regular exercise each week?
  • Are you over age 45?
  • Are you from an ethnic group with greater risk of diabetes such as Asian, African America, Native American, Hispanic, Latino or Pacific Islander?
  • Do you have High Blood Pressure?
  • Are you overweight? Being overweight is a primary risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is a serious disease. If it isn’t managed, it can damage many parts of the body. Unfortunately, one out of four people with diabetes does not know it. There is good news: diabetes complications can be prevented or delayed by properly managing blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Education, eating healthy, being physically active and quitting smoking also can help lower the risk of diabetes complications. People with diabetes can attend Diabetes Self Management and Support (DSMES) and Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) classes to learn about diabetes. These DSMES and MNT classes are covered by Medicare and most insurance when they are ordered by your doctor. In Yankton, a Community Diabetes and Exercise class is offered by occupational therapists. It is a six session class that helps participants set up a personal exercise plan. If you have diabetes and are ready to start implementing exercise into your lifestyle, contact Beryl Olson at 605-668-8292.

November 14th is World Diabetes Day. The International Diabetes Federation’s (IDF) World Diabetes Day 2013 campaign stresses the need for action to “protect our future” generations health and recognize the importance of early awareness of the risks and dangers of diabetes. A specific focus is on the importance of education - for health professionals, people with diabetes and people at risk – in reducing the impact of diabetes throughout the world. The aim is to build awareness among children and young people of the warning signs and risk factors for diabetes, and that in many cases Type 2 Diabetes can be prevented through healthy eating and physical activity. As part of the awareness campaign for World Diabetes Day in South Dakota, there are several events. Buildings and monuments will be lighted in blue, the color of the diabetes circle, a symbol of the IDF.  The capital building in Pierre, SD, Crazy Horse Monument and the The Falls in Sioux Falls will be lit up blue. Avera Sacred Heart Hospital will have an educational event Thursday, November 14th at 4 p.m. in the Professional Office Pavilion Auditorium. Luke Hofkamp, Type 1 Diabetic, PhD, Certified Personal Trainer and Medical Student, Dr Terence Pedersen, Podiatrist; and Kevin O'Brien, Physical Therapist will discuss Running with Diabetes. They will share their wealth of experience in this free community event and answer your questions. Call Avera Sacred Heart Hospital 605-668-8279, for more information regarding this event.

For more information from the American Diabetes Association call 1-800-DIABETES or visit .  Also, follow the ADA on Facebook. ( and Twitter (
Call the National diabetes Education Program at 1-888-693-NDEP (6337) or visit for more information on managing and preventing Type 2 Diabetes.