Decoding diabetes

DecodingDiabetesIf you have diabetes, you’re not alone. Up to 20 percent of City of Kansas City employees have diabetes or pre-diabetes. Learning to live with it means taking an active role in managing this disease. Unmanaged or mismanaged diabetes can have devastating consequences, leading to heart disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, even amputations.

Managed actively, though, diabetes does not have to control you. In fact, proper management can help you avoid many of the long-term complications associated with diabetes. To help, the City’s Fountain of Health Wellness Program is offering an incentive program designed to teach you why blood sugar monitoring is so critical for diabetes management and how focused testing can help.

The class, called “Seeing is Believing,” will be offered for free at three locations in February. If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, you are encouraged to attend and bring a friend. A light meal will be served at each meeting and participants will earn a $25 gift card for participating, when they also complete at least one session with Healthy Companion Registered Nurse Jody Emma.

Topics for the class will include:

  • Why blood sugar monitoring is important
  • How focused testing can help you discover how what you do affects your blood sugar
  • How to use the ACCU-CHEK focused testing tools
  • How focused testing can improve your diabetes management

Even if you feel you have good control over your diabetes, Emma encourages you to attend the class. Often, people who have diabetes eventually fall into the trap of thinking that exercising and eating right are the only things they need to do to get it under control. Emma says this is not an effective management strategy for the disease.

“Monitoring your blood sugar regularly gives you the facts. In order to know how various foods, activities, medications, illness and even changing moods affect your blood sugar, you must test,” she says.

If you have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, blood monitoring can provide critical indicators for how well you are doing in an effort to minimize your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

Pre-diabetes is the resulting diagnosis when a person’s blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes, explains Emma. Those who have pre-diabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and may have some problems from diabetes already.

“Symptoms of diabetes often appear gradually, and are many times attributed to other sources, such as not getting enough sleep, or being under stress,” Emma says. “The first symptoms include fatigue and excessive thirst, which leads to frequent urination due to the increase in fluid consumption.”  Additional early symptoms can include blurred vision, pain or numbness in the feet or hands, or mood swings and depression. Other signs include frequent infections, especially bladder infections and/or yeast infections in women, or cuts and bruises that take longer than normal to heal. Often the skin is very dry and itchy, and there may be noticeable skin color changes of the lower legs.

If you’re worried about whether you have diabetes, a routine annual physical could put your mind at ease. “A fasting glucose is part of the metabolic panel lab work that is done for your annual physical,” Emma says. “Your doctor will evaluate your number and determine if more frequent testing is advisable.”

Public Works, MSC training room,
5300 Municipal Ave.
Fitness Source,
Multipurpose room
Water Administration,
Tuesday, Feb. 7 Wednesday, Feb. 8 Thursday, Feb. 9
2-4 p.m. 4-6 p.m. 4-6 p.m.