As the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, diabetes affects nearly 30 million Americans yearly. With numbers this high, staff at the Sampson County Health Department are continuing to provide self-management education to local residents who suffer from the disease.
In remembrance of Diabetes Awareness Month, the Sampson County Health Department is stressing diabetes health awareness.
According to Kathie Johnson, RN with the local health department, the Sampson County Health Department’s Diabetes Self-Management Education Program (DSMP) is a North Carolina Division of Public Health offering. DPH teamed with the American Diabetes Association to develop an umbrella program that allows local health departments to provide diabetes self-management education.
“The program is designed for individuals who need diabetes education and training,” Johnson said. “These individuals must have a diagnosis of diabetes (Type 1, Type II or Gestational Diabetes) or pre-diabetes. The Health Department’s Diabetes Program promotes individual knowledge and skills, and provides clients with the knowledge and tools to assist them with effectively managing their diabetes.”
Locally, 2010 data from the Center for Disease Control, CDC, indicates that approximately 12 percent of Sampson County residents have been diagnosed with diabetes. In addition, it is estimated that approximately 2 percent of the county’s population has diabetes, but has never been diagnosed.
Current lifestyles are a major contributing factor to Type II Diabetes, Johnson shared. CDC and NC DHHS studies estimate that approximately one-third of Sampson County residents are either overweight or obese. Sedentary lifestyles, especially in our youth, are leading to more and more children and teens being diagnosed with Diabetes.
“Before the umbrella system was implemented, Sampson’s Health Department applied for and received a grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Charity Trust Foundation in 2007 and began the Diabetes Self-Management Education Program,” Johnson said. “After the DPH was granted permission by ADA to provide the umbrella program, the local health department applied for and became a part of it in 2009. The program is currently funded by billing insurances, Medicaid and Medicare.”
Diabetes and its complications, such as heart disease, amputations, stroke, blindness and death, are very costly. The better a person can control diabetes, the less risk there is for one of these complications. The Health Department is working through the program to help educate those who have been diagnosed with the disease or related complications. Teaching clients self-management education is a crucial part of diabetes care and anyone diagnosed with diabetes that has not been offered self-management care is inadequately treated.
According to Johnson, the Diabetes Education Program works with individuals to teach them how to help themselves by increasing their knowledge and self-awareness of diabetes and how to manage the disease to improve their health and decrease their risks of complications related to diabetes. The program’s main goal is teach clients how to control the disease and not let the disease control them by giving them knowledge and power.
The program teaches clients self-care techniques, which consist of successful meal planning, effective monitoring of blood glucose levels, the importance of medications, how to take medications correctly, how to identify and manage reactions to medications, complications from the disease and how to prevent them, the importance of physical activity, how to manage sick days, and the effects to stress of diabetes and how to manage stress.
“By giving client knowledge and power to allow them to control diabetes, the outcomes affect not only the clients, but their families, friends and the community,” Johnson said. “Diabetes is a serious disease with costly and often fatal complications. By controlling the disease, medical costs are greatly reduced and this affects everyone.”
An initial medical history assessment is performed on all patients, they then receive an educational class and a refresher class. Staff is also available at all times to provide support to the patients and answer any questions the clients may have.
The Health Department encourages everyone that has been diagnosed with diabetes to seek self-management education.
The local program caters to all individuals regardless of healthcare coverage (insured, uninsured, or underinsured). The program is open to all people diagnosed with diabetes. For more information on the program or to find out how they can help you conquer diabetes by scheduling an appointment for the program, please contact the department at 910-592-1131, ext. 4240, 4972 or 4968. The collaborative efforts of clients, their medical providers and the health department is to reach the goal of a longer and healthier life and a reduction of complications.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.