CINCINNATI— The fifth-deadliest disease in the United States affects more than 20 million people, and that number is increasing every year.
According to the American Diabetes Association, 7 percent of the population has diabetes, a disease in which the body doesn’t produce or properly use insulin. The University of Cincinnati’s Diabetes Center estimates that there are 10,000 people with type 1 diabetes and 150,000 with type 2 diabetes in the Greater Cincinnati area.
“The incidence of diabetes is growing rapidly and more than 6 million people in the United States don’t even realize they have it,” says diabetologist Barbara Ramlo-Halsted, MD, director of the Diabetes Center.
“That’s why it’s important for people to be aware of the disease and take measures to ensure they are properly diagnosed and have their blood glucose levels managed,” Ramlo-Halsted says.
One of the keys to managing the disease, says Ramlo-Halsted, is education. “People need to be aware that their lifestyle choices affects their health, whether it’s what they eat, how much they exercise or how to cope with diabetes.”
UC’s Diabetes Center, the only comprehensive adult diabetes center in the region, works closely with patients’ primary health care providers to ensure the creation of a coordinated care plan.
The center offers a series of self-management education classes for people with type 2 diabetes. Topics include how to monitor blood glucose, guidelines for dining out, how to read food labels, the benefits of increased physical activity, and psychologically adjusting to living with diabetes, among others.
The center currently offers these classes at its Burnet Avenue office in Clifton. Beginning Oct. 11, classes will also be offered at University Pointe in West Chester on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Medicare covers up to 10 hours of initial diabetes education and allows two hours of follow-up education per year. Private and commercial insurance companies generally follow Medicare guidelines.
For more information on diabetes, visit www.netwellness.org, a collaborative health-information Web site staffed by Ohio physicians, nurses and allied health professionals. To participate in a self-management education class, call (513) 475-8200.