Diabetes can be associated with a litany of health problems, including heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, nerve damage and blindness. Now, more than ever, people with diabetes are able to live active and healthy lives. Whether you’ve been recently diagnosed or living with it for years, education and awareness are the key to understanding and managing the disease.
At SSM Health Outpatient Center in St. Charles, a team approach includes a Certified Diabetes Educator and a Clinical Dietitian who educate diabetic patients about blood sugar control.
“If blood sugars are not controlled, high blood sugar can cause problems with the eyes, the kidneys, the heart, the nerves," said Patty Shelton, a certified diabetes educator.
Shelton said the program has four classes. It shows patients how to check their blood sugar with a poke in the finger and applying the blood to a test strip to check their numbers.
"They do test blood sugar at home once or twice a day, sometimes more than that, and keep a record. It's very important to keep a record because it helps them to learn what affects their blood sugars," Shelton said.
The program also emphasizes diet, exercise, and medications and has many success stories. The SSM Health group setting approach has been recognized by the American Diabetes Association.
The SSM Health Medical Minute airs every Thursday at 7 PM on KPLR News 11 and at 9 PM on KTVI Fox 2 News.