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Diabetes Support Group and Classes Offered Through Holzer

Suzanna Duncan RN, BSN, Diabetic Educator.
Suzanna Duncan RN, BSN, Diabetic Educator.

MEIGS COUNTY – Holzer is dedicated to increasing awareness and providing education to the communities they serve. Suzanna Duncan RN, BSN, Diabetic Educator, has set high goals to raise awareness of diabetes and treatment measures for the surrounding area.

“Prevention is key,” Suzanna says, “in improving the health of those in our area. Many people in our area are at high risk for diabetes due to family history of the disease, dietary habits, lack of daily physical activity, and obesity. If we could just reach those people and help them learn how to combat diabetes we can make a huge difference in many people’s lives. Diabetes is a condition that can cause lots of other negative effects on the body. For example, lots of people with diabetes suffer from Peripheral Arterial Disease and then need non-healing wound treatment. We want to keep people fit and healthy to prevent them from getting diabetes and other health conditions. Prevention truly is key! ”

Holzer offers Diabetes Self-Management Classes in Gallipolis and Jackson for anyone who has diabetes or cares for someone who has diabetes. Classes are divided into three sessions each taught by a specialist in that area. Session one focuses on diabetic self-care and management as well as complications, taught by the nurse diabetic educator. The second session introduces individualized diet plans and carbohydrate counting by a registered dietitian. Session three is a physical activity and pharmaceutical session, provided by a pharmacist. Many who go to these classes go on to look into other areas of care, including insurance (which you can learn more here) as well as becoming advocates to help others.

“Classes are provided to educate patients to learn how to manage their diabetes. Risk factors, diagnoses, signs, and symptoms, monitoring, treatments, medications, etc., are discussed during the sessions. From managing overall health or specific health implications like diabetic feet, nothing is off-limits. For example, someone who may be suffering from poor foot health may want to try diabetic foot socks but could be sceptical. This group will talk about all of the pros and cons of the foot sock and then that person can decide if it’s something they think they can benefit from. If you can’t attend a meeting and would like to find out more about diabetic socks, you can do that here. This is a wonderful opportunity for those who are diagnosed with diabetes, either recently or who have had it for years, to learn more about the disease and how to manage it on a day-to-day basis,” stated Duncan.
At Holzer in Gallipolis, a Diabetic Support Group is offered on the first Thursday of each month from 4pm to 6pm in the Hospital’s French 500 Room, located on the first floor of the hospital.

The Support Group was formed more than 10 years ago and meets monthly to share information and learn about related issues/problems/concerns to provide better health management of diabetes. Many topics are discussed other than diabetes, speakers are invited to share information on heart health, kidneys, vision, stress, relaxation, depression, arthritis, exercise, diet, wound/skin care, and new updates in medicine.
“This is a group that likes to have fun and genuinely enjoys each other’s company,” stated Duncan. “They are a great support system to have available for individuals who either have diabetes or are caring for someone with diabetes. Everyone is welcome to our sessions, we enjoy having new faces join our group and the group is very welcoming.”

In Jackson, Duncan is working to grow a new support group for individuals who have Type 1 Diabetes. “Our initial meeting was in August of 2013, and we are working steadily to creating a support group of individuals for the Jackson area.”

The group is forming to help educate and foster bonds of those affected with Type 1 Diabetes and their families, schools, and the communities in which they live. These meetings are both informative and fun. Designed to involve children, there is always an activity and snacks provided by the group. “We are driven to raise awareness and education for our communities through activities and events,” Duncan continued.
The new group meets on the fourth Tuesday of the month in the Community Education Room at Holzer Medical Center – Jackson from 6pm to 7:30pm.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 22.5 million children and adults in the United States, 8.3 percent of the population, have diabetes. Of which, 18.8 million of those individuals are diagnosed, and 7 million have diabetes but have not been diagnosed. Beyond that, 79 million people have screening results that show they are pre-diabetic. The total cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States is $245 billion. Average medical expenditures among people with diagnosed diabetes were 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes.

All of the classes or support groups mentioned are open to the public and all are welcomed to attend. For more information or to register, please call Suzanna at the Holzer Diabetic Education Department at (740) 446-5971(740) 446-5971.

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