Highland Medical Center to Host Series on Diabetes Education


Diabetes is a serious issue across the world, and here locally, folks are certainly not immune. Jeanne Flinn, Licensed Clinical Social Worker at the Highland Medical Center, spoke with Allegheny Mountain Radio to explain more about the disease and some upcoming classes that may help provide awareness and prevention. She says, “The World Health Organization describes diabetes as a slow motion disaster just waiting to happen. The American Diabetes Association refers to it as an epidemic, and we’re talking about Diabetes Type 2. It’s the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. 12 out of every 100 people living in Highland County have been diagnosed with diabetes. That’s 243 people just here in Highland County. So, you’re asking, ‘What is Type 2 Diabetes?’ It results from the body being unable to use the glucose, or we sometimes refer to it as the blood sugar, normally. It means that your body has a harder time changing the food you eat in to the energy you need. Now, diabetes is a serious disease because it can lead to heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. Half of the individuals will experience nerve damage to their limbs, which can cause ulcers and eventually limb amputation. Other health problems caused by diabetes include eye problems, gum disease, and death.”

As a public service, the University of Virginia Diabetes Education and Management Program will be presenting a four part series on diabetes education. The series will be held on four consecutive Tuesdays in September from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., and it all kicks off on September 5th. The interactive, tele-education classes are held in the Board Room of the Highland Medical Center and are offered free of charge.

Ms. Flinn continues, “The first class deals with the basics of diabetes and medication, so this is sort of a general overview for the newly-diagnosed diabetic or for someone who has diabetes but’s really never really received a lot of education on the disease, or it can be used just as a refresher course. The second class on September the 12th deals with the basics of nutrition, so they give you tips on how to plan meals that will improve your blood glucose control, and they’re also heart healthy. They talk about healthy food choices, serving size, how to read food labels, ‘what about the use of artificial sweeteners?’, alcohol, recommendations for fat and fiber. The third session deals more with glucose control, activity, and stress. They go in to in-depth discussion on insulin management. They actually give you case studies where they look at an individual’s blood sugar diary and let you look at it and figure out what the problem is and then come back and discuss what the issues are and what that individual in the case study could do to correct their blood glucose control. At the end of that session, they actually then focus on physical activity, and this is taught by a certified wellness coach, and she uses a lot of the resistance bands and also stretching exercises. They also talk about stress and how you can better manage stress management because that also can have an influence on your blood sugar, and they teach you deep breathing and how to relax. The last class is September 26th, and it’s called: Eat Smart, Change Your Lifestyle. They actually give you some how-tos. They talk about how you shop for healthy meals, looking at portion sizes, just some easy ways to cut calories, how to avoid common eating traps, and then they actually work with you on how to set personal goals to improve your lifestyle.”

If you’re interested in any of the classes, or just want to learn more, call Vickie Hoover at 468-6409 or visit www.ourhmc.org.


Story By

Chris Swecker

is the Assistant Station Coordinator and a News Reporter for WVLS. He has roots in Highland County going back several generations, and he grew up in Monterey. Since graduating from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Design, he has pursued his career at a news station and advertising agency in Virginia, on Microsoft’s campus in the state of Washington, and in both states as sole owner and employee of a video production company. He enjoys exploring life with his wife, Jessa Fowler, traveling, hiking, hunting, gardening, and trying new foods, all while discovering more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He feels blessed to be a small part of this talented AMR team to help give back to the community that has provided him with so much.

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