OMC promotes diabetes prevention

An estimated 4,000 adults in Clallam County have diabetes and the number of people with the condition nationally increased 13.5 percent from 2005-2007, certified diabetes educator Christin Maks told Olympic Medical Center's board of directors at its Nov. 5 meeting.

To help combat the problem, Olympic Medical Center will hold a Diabetes Screening and Information Fair from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18, in the Wendel Room at Olympic Medical Center, 939 Caroline St. in Port Angeles. She said the fair is expected to be held each year.

It will include blood glucose screening, risk assessment discussions with dietitians and diabetes educators, information on the latest technology such as insulin pumps and information about OMC's diabetes education program.

Maks and Nancy Boulay, OMC's employee wellness nurse, will present a 90-minute class on prediabetes, diabetes and lifestyle habits for prevention and treatment at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 18 and at 6 p.m. Thursday Nov. 20 in the Wendel Room.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that prevents the body from either producing insulin, which is classified as Type 1, or properly using insulin, which is classified as Type 2. Insulin is a hormone the body needs to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy.

Prediabetes occurs when a person's blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. An estimated 57 million Americans have this condition, in addition to the 23.6 million with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is diagnosed by a "fasting plasma glucose test." A fasting blood glucose level between 100 and 125 milligrams per deciliter signals prediabetes. A person with a fasting blood glucose level of 126 mg/dl or higher has diabetes.

Maks said November is American Diabetes Month, so it's time to raise awareness of the seriousness of the disease, its deadly complications and the importance of properly controlling it. Diabetes can damage the eyes, kidneys, peripheral nerves and blood vessels.

"It's a serious disease but people do very well when it is controlled," she said.

Maks said other diabetes prevention and education efforts include continued self-management and education for patients, a diabetes support group on the third Tuesday of each month, nutrition and diabetes prevention classes, and noon lectures that could become a series if there's enough interest.

Clinical trials have shown that adults can reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes - formerly called "adult onset" before its recent prevalence in children - by 58 percent through lifestyle changes, Maks said.

Those changes include weight loss of 5 percent to

7 percent; a healthy, low-calorie, low-fat diet and 30 minutes of physical activity at least five days per week, she said.

Maks said the estimate of diabetes in Clallam County comes from the state Department of Health and is comparable to other counties in the state. Translated to OMC staff, that's 62 people with diabetes and 200 with prediabetes, she said.

Diabetes Screening and Information Fair

11 a.m.-2 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 18

Wendel Room at Olympic Medical Center

939 Caroline St., Port Angeles

Sponsored by Olympic Medical Center

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