Free diabetes workshops offered at East Brewton SAIL Center

Published 9:58 am Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Do you know what your A1c is?

What is the best way to take care of your feet? Do you know of healthy ways to handle the stress related to your diabetes? How does exercise affect your diabetes?

These are some of the many questions participants at the East Brewton SAIL Center asked before beginning the DEEP (Diabetes Education Empowerment Program) recently.

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You may ask why such a program is important. New cases of diabetes have increasingly grown in the United States over the last 20 years. The African American population has experienced the most significant rise. According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, over 12 percent of African Americans have diabetes with women and the elderly having the highest rates. Escambia County is one of 14 counties in the State with a 40 percent obese adults ratio based on Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance Systems Data (2012).

The DEEP held at the East Brewton SAIL Center in East Brewton was an effort to counteract Obesity and Diabetes in our community. Diabetes can be controlled and self-management is a key step toward preventing diabetes complications.

The sessions were facilitated by Carolyn Bivins, an extension educator. The participants eagerly asked many questions about the disease, and Bivins presented information in simple medical terms. She made a compelling case for the participants to begin thinking about how to make better lifestyle changes for their health.

The series touched on the human body and what diabetes does to the organs. There were also lessons on the signs, symptoms, and monitoring of high and low blood sugar.

The classes were all about empowering participants. The more that they learned about diabetes, the more they will empower themselves with the tools needed to build a strong relationship with their health care providers, about how best to achieve better health; it encouraged better nutrition and regular exercise. It also encouraged lifestyle changes that led to the reduction in the number of diabetes complications (heart disease, blindness, nerve damage, etc.) and limb amputations. Last, but not least it expressed the importance of developing support networks of family, friends and existing community-based social services.  DEEP, a six-session diabetes self-management workshop series was sponsored by Atom Alliance and the Alabama Extension System – Escambia County Extension Office.