Diabetes is serious. More than 34 million adult Americans have it, or about 1 in 10 people. Approximately 88 million adults have prediabetes, or 1 in 3 people. Further, diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States—and the number one cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations and adult blindness.

Yet many adults with type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, don’t even know they have it. They go years before being diagnosed—completely unaware or downplaying the symptoms.

So if you make frequent trips to the bathroom, have blurry vision or slow-healing sores, are always thirsty, hungry or fatigued, you may be at risk. And you may want to ask your doctor about being tested for diabetes. An early diagnosis can help ward off complications, even prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes Education Week

Each year the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists (ADCES) promotes National Diabetes Education Week during the first week in November. The week focuses on ways diabetes education can boost the well-being of those with diabetes. Because diabetes is a complex disease that requires life-long learning for good management.

That’s why YRMC has hired Diabetes Educator Bonita Wilson, RN, to operate YRMC’s Diabetes Education Program out of the Preventive Medicine and Wellness Department. The program gives you the skills and confidence you need to manage diabetes and lead a healthy life.

Your YRMC Diabetes Educator

“As a diabetes educator, I empower people to take charge of their diabetes through sound education around self-management,” Wilson said. “The biggest misconception people have is that you can’t live a full life with diabetes. But you can. I give them the information they need to manage diet, exercise and medications. Plus how to practice monitoring and mindfulness.”

Much of this information is imparted through the department’s Outpatient Diabetes Education Program, open to those with a diabetes diagnosis and a doctor’s referral. Medicare, and many other insurance carriers, often cover the cost of the program.

“The program consists of 10 hours of group education, five classes of two hours each,” Wilson said. “We started out holding two classes a week but that quickly grew into four. People can call us at the Pendleton Center at (928) 771-5794 to learn more. We can tell them where to send a doctor’s referral and help them look into insurance.”

While diabetes education is important, like most things it only works when put into action. Rest assured, while there’s no cure for type 2 diabetes, there’s ongoing quality of life through the practice of self-care. Whether you’re newly diagnosed, or you’ve been fighting diabetes for a while, YRMC can give you the tools and tips you need to live a full life with diabetes.