SGCMH to offer free diabetes lunch and learn
The statistics can be startling: about one in 11 Americans has diabetes; someone is diagnosed with the disease every 23 seconds; and 89 million people are at risk. And, according to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes remains the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.
In conjunction with November’s observance of National Diabetes Awareness Month, Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital will host a Diabetes Awareness event on Wednesday, November 30 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm in the hospital conference room.
The event is open to the public at no cost and will feature Sharon Grass, RN, CS, FNP who specializes in diabetes education and management. Diabetes is not the disease it was 30 years ago, according to Grass, and there are many things to be encouraged about.
“We’ve made so much progress,” she said. “There are many more medications available today that help make it easy to manage the disease. At my office we have the capability of downloading the patient’s meter so we can look at their blood sugars and how they’re flowing as well as continuous glucose monitoring systems (CGMS) which monitor blood sugars every five minutes, including through the night, that keep a constant watch on those levels. There are new insulins and injectables. And there are a lot of different ways to manage diabetes with not always having to add medications. That’s good news to a lot of people. In the last year alone, things have changed markedly.”
In addition to technology, food choices for the diabetic have exploded on grocery store shelves.
“A lot of low carb foods are coming out, including low carb breads and pastas, which are a favorite of just about everyone. When we tell our diabetic patients to cut back on carbs it’s nice to offer them solutions. Years ago we told the patients they had to cut sugar from their diet. That’s not so much the case today. We can work that in to their diet to some degree. A lot of low-carb and sugar-free products can be obtained locally. In fact, our stores sometimes carry foods that aren’t available at the larger chains in St. Louis. The community as a whole has been very responsive to those needs.”
Grass, who has been teaching and managing diabetes for the last 40 years, said that even though diabetes is on the rise, the good news is that it is a very manageable disease, as she’ll talk about at the lunch and learn presentation.
“I’ll talk about how to manage your blood sugar and blood sugar patterns,” she said. “We’ll be talking about how to manage medications according to what we see on meter downloads and the CGMS. Seeing these printouts, gives patients a better understanding of what is actually going on. They can see the big picture.”
In addition to Grass, Debbie Ramer will be talking about the benefits of exercising with yoga, and Dietician Janis Biethman will have nutrition strategies for the diabetic. Jessica Toebben, pharmacist at Bloomsdale Pharmacy, Mid-America Rehab, SGCMH Wound Care, Klein’s Pharmacy and Mickey Flieg with Essential Oils will have vendor booths.
Event organizers will add a little fun to the event as they use the Wizard of Oz as a theme.
“Don’t be surprised if you have to walk the yellow brick road or are served Kansas twisters for lunch,” said Grass. “Diabetes can be a serious and not so fun topic, but we’ll lighten the mood. We also have several giveaways and a chance to win an Amazon Kindle.”
To RSVP to the free event, call 573-883-4402.