Spectrum Health offers education session on taking control of diabetes

REED CITY — It is estimated that 26 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with diabetes, including an estimated 7 million who remain undiagnosed.

About 40 percent of those diagnosed with diabetes do not achieve the blood sugar control target recommended by the American Diabetes Association.

Perhaps you or a loved one have been told that high blood sugar causes complications, but have you ever wondered why? Blood sugar actually coats red blood cells (hemoglobin), causing them to become stiff. These "sticky cells" interfere with blood circulation, causing cholesterol to build up on the inside of the blood vessels. It can take months to years for the damage to the body to appear. The fragile blood vessels in the eyes, kidneys and feet are most susceptible, so problems are usually noticed first in those areas.

Controlling high blood sugar may help prevent or decrease many long-term diabetes complications, such as:

  • Heart attack,
  • Stroke,
  • Eye problems that can lead to trouble seeing or blindness,
  • Nerve damage in your hands and feet that can cause pain, tingling and numbness,
  • Kidney problems, including kidney failure,
  • Gum disease and tooth loss.

Diabetes patient Roger Baird knows first-hand the challenges and obstacles to maintaining control of diabetes. Roger will share his story in a free educational session at 2 p.m. on Oct. 30 inside the education classrooms of Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital Diabetes Education, located at 219 E. Church St., Reed City. Roger is a member of the A1C Champions Program, supported by Sanofi, which is a patient-led approach to diabetes education.

Roger will share diabetes self-management tips based on extensive training and his personal experience living with diabetes. He will cover topics including achieving good glucose control, learning about effective self-management, developing a balanced, healthy lifestyle, planning and prioritizing diabetes management, overcoming fears surrounding diabetes and finding resources for diabetes support.

Space is limited and registration is required. Please register at spectrumhealth.org/reedcitydiabetes. Contact Lori King at (231) 832-8502 with any questions.