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Diabetes: Steps to Get Well

General

Scott knew something was wrong. He had felt strange for weeks, not feeling quite right, sometimes more tired than usual, but always very thirsty. In fact, he attributed his frequent trips to the bathroom to the large amount of sodas he had gradually begun to drink each day. But now that his vision was getting blurry, his wife made an appointment with the doctor. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

Scott's doctor informed him that the problem was a blood sugar measurement of 350 and a Hemoglobin A1c of 9.7 percent, which indicated diabetes. Scott is not alone, for in the United States there are 23.6 million children and adults, or 7.8 percent of the population, who have diabetes. Unfortunately, 5.7 million people (or nearly one quarter of that number) are unaware that they have the disease.

Step 1: Check the symptoms to watch for which include: frequent urination, excessive thirst, excessive hunger, unusual weight loss, increased fatigue, irritability and blurry vision.

Step 2: If you have one or more of these diabetes symptoms, see your doctor right away. You can also take an online diabetes risk test to find out if you are at risk for diabetes at the American Diabetes Association Web site.

Step 3: Have your doctor write a prescription for you to attend Tillamook County General Hospital's Better Living with Diabetes classes. A physician's referral and a call to scheduling at (503)-815-2292 (503-368-6544 ext 2292 from North Tillamook County) will get you started. Many insurance companies will cover the cost of the course. If financial assistance is needed, staff will connect you with a financial counselor who can assist you.

The next course is being offered in Nehalem, beginning October 22 - November 12 from 6:30 - 9:00 pm in the NCRD building. A 1-hour individual consultation with a dietitian is followed by 10 hours of classroom time. "It was the most valuable thing I could have done for myself. And I am confident that I can keep my condition under control from what I learned there," reports Scott.

Step 4: Follow the plan made with your health care team to take control of your diabetes as early as possible. It is easy to become overwhelmed by your diabetes, but it is possible to break that mind-set and realize living successfully with diabetes is achievable.

Step 5: November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Attend the 9th Annual Diabetes and You seminar being held Tuesday, November 3 from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm at the lower level of the Tillamook Seventh-Day Adventist Church. The key topic is How to Reverse Your Diabetes. Just prior to the seminar at 9:00 am, a screening for Hemoglobin A1C will be offered for $10; foot screening will also be done at no cost. The seminar, including lunch, is free so please RSVP to (503)-815-2313 today.

"Everyone who has diabetes or wants to prevent it should attend the classes," encourages Scott. "I have lost 39 pounds and never felt better."

Step up and take the challenge! For more information about the Better Living with Diabetes class, call (503)-815-2270 (503-368-6544 ext 2270 from North Tillamook County). The American Diabetes Association recognizes Tillamook County General Hospital's diabetes education program as meeting the National Standards for Diabetes Self-Management Education. The hospital has been a nationally certified diabetes education provider since 2008.