Wednesday, October 18, 2017

NORMAN, OK - Norman Regional Health System is gearing up for a Diabetes Health Fair.

The Diabetes Education Center is hosting the fair, which focuses on the topic: "Mindset Matters: Does Success in Our Wellness Efforts Start With Our Thoughts?" Dr. Farhan Jawed, medical director of Norman Regional’s Behavioral Medicine Unit, will be speaking on the topic.

The Diabetes Health Fair will also feature free blood pressure screenings, free blood glucose meters, free hemoglobin A1C lab voucher and the newest diabetes products. It will also include various vendor booths, door prizes, and a cooking demonstration with a healthy snack.

The fair is a community-wide event open to anyone who may be affected by diabetes or those interested in preventing or reducing their diabetes risk. It’ll be hosted from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14 at the Norman Regional Education Center, 901 N. Porter Ave. in Norman.

The event is free and no registration is required.

Every year, 19,000 Oklahomans are diagnosed with diabetes. More than 14 percent of Oklahomans have diabetes, while 37 percent of Oklahoma's adults have pre-diabetes. Norman Regional is determined to help bring those percentages down with education and prevention.

Norman Regional's Diabetes Education Center has been recognized as a Center of Excellence through the American Diabetes Association since August 2003. The center expanded its services in 2013 to include prevention by becoming a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) diabetes prevention recognized program. The Diabetes Prevention Program is a lifestyle change program for individuals at high risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes.

The program is a group-based, structured lifestyle change program that consists of two parts: core sessions and post-core sessions.

The core sessions focus on how to adopt a healthy lifestyle. The 16 sessions help participants develop lifelong skills for improving health through step-by-step changes. Participants stay in the same small groups of 12-15 individuals throughout the core phases and usually meet at the same time and location every week. All participants are given routine opportunities to practice behavioral skills during the sessions and at home.

Following the core sessions, the program is structured to offer monthly post-core meetings for a minimum of six to eight months. The structure and content of the post-core sessions is more flexible than the core sessions, and topics can be tailored to the needs of the participants. The post-core sessions provide additional support and learning opportunities for participants while also helping them transition from having the frequent support of a group to maintaining their own lifestyle changes.

The goals of the program are to achieve 7 percent weight loss for all participants who complete the program; reduce A1C lab results, which Norman Regional will provide for each enrolled participant at the beginning and end of the program; and achieve 150 minutes of weekly physical activity for all of the program participants.

The program is facilitated by a lifestyle coach who is not required to be a dietitian or certified diabetes educator, but the Diabetes Education Center has utilized its staff of certified diabetes educators for this role.

Medicare will begin covering the Diabetes Prevention Program in full starting in April 2018. Many private insurers already cover the service, including Norman Regional's self-funded insurance.

Aside from prevention, the Diabetes Education Center also offers classes, free monthly health and wellness seminars, counseling, insulin pump training, support groups and more. The center's goal is to "empower patients through increased knowledge and understanding."

Diabetes education is an important tool for all diabetic and pre-diabetic patients.

"I always tell patients diabetes education is the only thing with zero risk of adverse events and it has been shown to be more effective than most of the diabetes medications," said Kacy Aderhold, APRN, a nurse practitioner at Norman Regional Endocrinology Associates. "I think it is beneficial in general for a patient to hear the same things said multiple times by different people in different ways. So, they hear it here and there and eventually it sinks in. I have had patients come back and say that a diabetes educator said something in a way that really made sense to them that they never fully understood before. Or were able to find something in their lifestyle that they never knew was an issue and help them make better choices."

Angela Genovese, APRN, also a nurse practitioner at Norman Regional Endocrinology Associates, agreed with Aderhold, stating that many patients are already overwhelmed when they leave their diabetic appointment because the visit contains so many exams, data and medication discussions.

"There is no way we can cover all aspects of diabetes education, specifically the nutrition aspect, in our short visits," Genovese said. "Many patients that have attended diabetes education tell me that they did not realize how much information they had forgotten since their first class or how much information they just simply did not know."

Genovese said that diabetes education and self-management can even lead to diabetic patients being taken off insulin.

The four critical times for education are newly diagnosed patients, annually, when new complicating factors influence a patient's self-management, and when transitions in the patient’s care occur. That education should address not only the diabetes, but also nutritional and emotional needs.

To find out more about what the Diabetes Education Center has to offer, call 405-307-5730 or visit the Diabetes Center.