Diabetes program recognized

Staff report

Patients involved in a diabetes management program at Northern Family Medicine took great strides in controlling their condition.

According to a statement from Northern — which was designated a Diabetic Center of Excellence in February by the American Association of Diabetes Education — the family medical practice’s diabetes management program was featured in an online edition of the American Journal of Managed Care on March 5.

The article notes 58 people have been taking part in the management program since its inception in 2014. Those patients saw an overall reduction in their blood glucose levels of 2.4 percent.

While that doesn’t sound like much, the medical group says the true results are much larger. More than 300 patients have been included in the diabetes management program, and they have seen an average drop in their glucose levels of about 16 percent.

“We are pleased that our program has been effective in helping patients self-manage their diabetes and improve the quality of their lives through recommended lifestyle improvements,” said Paige Johnson Cartledge, Northern program coordinator.

“We look forward to continuing to educate patients and others about the most effective ways to prevent and manage diabetes and pre-diabetes.”

Diabetes is the eighth-leading cause of death in Surry County, according to the press release, but the program seeks to curb the effects of the chronic, debilitating disease through changes in a patient’s lifestyle.

“Effective diabetes management programs seek to reduce the amount of medication patients need while also improving — lowering and/or maintaining — their glycated hemoglobin, or blood-sugar, levels at or below 7, which is in line with recommended targets for adults established by the American Diabetes Association,” reads the statement.

Appropriately managing the disease is instrumental in helping to reduce complications such as blindness, increased risk of heart attack or stroke, kidney disease and amputation of lower limbs.

According to Cartledge, the key to the success of the program at Northern is the culturally sensitive education, training, and regular monitoring and feedback patients receive at the Center from physicians, nurses, nurse-educators and other patients.

“The key to our program’s success is the comprehensive classroom education we provide, along with a culturally sensitive support system that empowers patients to achieve their clinical and lifestyle goals,” explained Cartledge.

According to Cartledge, the program addresses patients individually. Such educational programs such as how to avoid sugary snacks when babysitting grandchildren are offered.

The program is also driven by a patient advisory committee, which led to the diabetic cookbook, Simply Surry — Cooking with Diabetes, and instructional videos to help those with diabetes shop at the grocery store and prepare healthy meals.

“We strive to provide a holistic, preventive approach to patient care, so patients can be successful in bringing about behavioral changes that will improve their quality of life – not just while they’re in the program, but for life.”

Those seeking more information regarding the diabetes management program may visit www.northernhospital.com/diabetes.

Staff report

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