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Managing diabetes can be a group effort

KINGWOOD — According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 30 million Americans have diabetes (about 1 in 10), and 90% to 95% of them have type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes most often develops in people over age 45, but more and more children, teens and young adults are also developing it.

Unlike many health conditions, diabetes is managed mostly by the diabetic, with support from his or her health care team, including the primary care doctor, foot doctor, dentist, eye doctor, registered dietitian/nutritionist, diabetes educator and pharmacist, along with family and friends.

Jennifer Nestor, a registered nurse at Preston Memorial Hospital (PMH), and diabetic educator for the Preston County Health Department (PCHD), said knowledge is power in keeping diabetes in check.

She said there are many new devices, available with a prescription, that are especially useful to insulin-dependent diabetics.

“Some of them provide constant monitoring on a smart phone,” she said. “There are insulin pumps so diabetics don’t have to punch themselves multiple times. These are the tools that make being a diabetic less inconvenient.”

Many of these new meters are approved by Medicare.

Nestor teaches a diabetic education class at PMH every third Wednesday of the month. The class offers information and support to those attending.

“You don’t have to register for the classes or be a diabetic to attend,” Nestor said. “The group is supportive and we talk about how difficult it sometimes is to obtain a goal. We support each other and pick each other up.”

She said when the weather is bad, she emails class handouts to those who can’t attend.

“Some diabetics have greater needs than others,” Nestor said. “I will call their physician, podiatrist, physical therapy and set up a consultation for them.”

She said classes offered include sick day management, eating on holidays and Diabetes 101, which explains how diabetes affects the body.

“This spring we are going to take a field trip to a grocery store and learn how to read labels and select good, nutritional food,” Nestor said.

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