Diabetes education is key focus of Van Buren Health Department

by | December 7, 2017 10:13 am

With diabetes and pre-diabetes on the rise locally, the Tennessee Department of Health is taking a proactive stand to help residents prevent the development of this prevalent disease.

As the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, diabetes is the primary cause for kidney failure, lower-limb amputations, and adult-onset blindness. The Tennessee Department of Health is encouraging individuals to take the necessary steps to prevent this disease.

“More than one in 10 people in Tennessee have diabetes, and about 250,000 Tennesseans are living with undiagnosed diabetes,” said Dr. John Dreyzehner, Tennessee Department of Health commissioner. “Many more meet the criteria for pre-diabetes. The most important things we can do to avoid this disease are getting regular physical activity, avoiding excessive sugar, and achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. We have to create the conditions in our culture that make it easier for all of us to achieve these goals.”

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects how the body uses insulin to process sugar. Over time, too much sugar in the bloodstream can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.

Pre-diabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to result in the diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. Those with pre-diabetes are at an increased risk for developing diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.

Tennessee is experiencing a rise in the number of individuals who either have diabetes or are developing pre-diabetes. Those with pre-diabetes are encouraged to enroll in evidence-based diabetes prevention programs, which are available across the state by the Tennessee Department of Health. To learn more about this local and state health department program, visit the state’s website at www.tn.gov/health/article/diabetes-prevention-program.

“We know the best way to treat diabetes is to prevent it in the first place. The best way to do that is to make healthy food choices and exercise regularly,” said Dr. Michelle Fiscus, Tennessee Department of Health Family Health and Wellness deputy medical director

To help avoid the development of diabetes, Tennesseans can do the following:

-Take the online test www.doihaveprediabetes.org to understand your personal risk for developing diabetes

-Talk with your family doctor regarding simple lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risks

-Achieve and maintain a healthy weight

-Consume fruits and vegetables every day, which the state recommends at least five one-cup servings each day

-Increase your physical activity, as adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate activity daily, and children should get at least one hour of activity every day

For those already diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes, the Tennessee Department of Health is offering a self-management workshop, “Take Charge of Your Diabetes.” Individuals with diabetes, along with their family members and caregivers, are welcome to attend this six-week program, which provides skills to self-manage diabetes and work closely with their health care professionals.

To learn more about this workshop, go to www.tn.gov/health/article/what-is-take-charge-of-your-diabetes.

For more information or to receive health services locally, contact the Van Buren County Health Department at (931) 946-2643 or visit their office at 907 Old McMinnville St., in Spencer.

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