November is known as National Diabetes Awareness Month. As part of that ‘awareness’, the people of St. James should know that there is an increasing commitment among health care professionals to inform and educate the citizens of St. James about the risks associated with diabetes - especially Type 2 Diabetes.
The Mayo Health System sees the risk and will be adding resources to the local battle.
Teresa Hensch, a 13 year employee of the Mayo System, and a diabetes educator, certified by the American Diabetes Association, will be spending more time in the St. James area from this time forward.
She will be in St. James at least every Wednesday to meet with patients.
The certification she has earned means that patients can be assured they are receiving the most accurate and current information available about this disease.
Informational classes on diabetes will be held on a regular basis starting in February of 2013.
As part of the American Diabetes Association education program Hensch will be able to leverage that organization’s resources for patients and the St. James community. Hensch said she had good success getting that kind of program up and running in Springfield, MN, where she also works for the Mayo Health System.
There is an important need to develop community resources to inform and educate people about diabetes.
Hensch said that right now diabetes afflicts perhaps 1 in 4 Americans. The number of people having diabetes will grow to 1 in 3 people in 2050 unless we take steps to fight diabetes.
For people who already have diabetes, Hensch says one of the important functions about her job is, “We teach people how to manage their diabetes.”
An unfortunate result of the increasing sedentary lifestyle that many people prefer is according to Hensch, “We are seeing more diabetes in the younger population.
“There is much more prevalence of diabetes - type 2 diabetes - among young adults and children.”
Hensch said the Mayo Health System currently has a support group for helping people with diabetes. Kim Nelson and Bonnie Bartos of the Mayo Health System work with that group.
The keys to preventing diabetes is really about portion control and getting up and moving every day according to Hensch. “It’s as simple as that,” she said.
Right now Hensch steps in after a patient has been diagnosed with diabetes to manage the disease to prevent the serious complications. Just a change in a persons’s diet and exercise can prevent diabetes from getting worse.
Page 2 of 2 - Better yet, a change in diet and exercise might prevent a currently healthy person from ever getting diabetes.
In the future Hensch wants to be interacting with organizations to reach out to educate people about diabetes. That could include schools, governmental agencies involved in improving the welfare of children, churches and other type organizations.
Knowing the forecast predicts diabetes could strike 1 in 3 Americans, St. James will need many people committed to educating the people of the community about this disease.