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News

Diabetes Care and Services at North Country HealthCare

December 21, 2021 by Jessica Gee


Key Takeaways

What?

One in ten Arizonans has diabetes, and that number is growing.

So What?

North Country HealthCare has programs to help prevent and manage diabetes.

Now What?

Read on to learn more about our diabetes programs and services!


doctor meeting with patient
North Country HealthCare offers various classes and one-on-one care to those with diabetes.

Diabetes care is a top priority at North Country HealthCare, considering its prevalence across the region and the country. To this end, our health center offers a comprehensive range of services to help manage, treat and prevent diabetes.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how our body turns food into energy. For those with diabetes, their body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should. When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream. Over time, this can cause serious health problems, like heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.

Diabetes is categorized into four types:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Prediabetes
  • Gestational diabetes

With type 1 diabetes the pancreas doesn’t make insulin or makes very little insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps blood sugar enter the cells in your body where it can be used for energy. Without insulin, blood sugar can’t get into cells and builds up in the bloodstream. Type 1 diabetes (previously called insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes) is usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults, but it can develop at any age.

The other types of diabetes have varying causes, some of which are beyond the patient’s control. However, the most prevalent types of diabetes (especially prediabetes and type 2 diabetes) can be prevented through intentional diet and activity choices. This is why it is important for patients and their loved ones to learn more about the disease, including its causes and how to manage it.

Type 2 diabetes develops when cells in the blood fail to respond to insulin properly. Type 2 diabetes accounts for between 90% and 95% of the 34 million Americans with diabetes. It affects about 1 in 10 adults in Arizona. In most cases, the causes are related to the patients’ lifestyles, especially unhealthy diets.

Prediabetes is a health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Approximately 88 million American adults—more than 1 in 3—have prediabetes. Most of those with prediabetes don’t even know they have it. Research shows that about 70% of people with prediabetes will eventually develop type 2 diabetes. Mild lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but unfortunately, many people at a high risk of developing the disease don’t know what this entails, and they lack the tools and support needed to make these changes stick.

Gestational diabetes can develop during pregnancy in women who don’t already have diabetes. Every year, 2% to 10% of pregnancies in the United States are affected by gestational diabetes. Managing gestational diabetes will help make sure you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

At North Country HealthCare, we work to raise awareness about the disease through a series of education programs, including:

PreventT2 Lifestyle Change Program

The PreventT2 Lifestyle Change Program contains a trove of educational resources about preventing type 2 diabetes. This program is led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with input from the National Diabetes Prevention Program. Both programs make use of health centers such as North Country HealthCare and other community outreach centers to educate their patients about making lifestyle changes to help prevent type 2 diabetes.

PreventT2 offers education about different foods’ sugar levels. It also offers tips on how much sugar to consume, which foods to eat, helpful exercises and other general behavioral and lifestyle changes. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Nutrition counseling
  • Importance of physical activity
  • Weight loss and weight loss management

This education program is available throughout the year in digital format. Anyone can get access to the program by emailing the coordinator.

Online diabetes support group

North Country HealthCare also holds a bi-weekly online support group that addresses issues regarding all four types of diabetes. The meetings occur on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month. They cover a wide range of topics related to the disease, including:

  • Medical nutrition therapy
  • Skin and foot care
  • Medications
  • Self-monitoring
  • Sick-day management
  • Hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia management
  • Using a glucometer

More importantly, participants can engage directly with professionals and get one-on-one help customized to their unique situation. Not only that, but many participants in the group report that meeting with others who are in a similar situation helps them stay motivated to continue to choose health every day.

Anyone can attend the online diabetes support group. You can call 928.522.9464 to reserve your spot and get a Zoom link from the program coordinator.

Diabetes care services

North Country HealthCare also offers direct diabetes care and management services in accordance with the American Diabetes Association’s standards of care. The care services offered at our 12 locations include:

  • Case management
  • Cholesterol monitoring
  • Annual foot checks
  • Eye exams for diabetic retinopathy
  • Assistance to stop using tobacco
  • On-site hemoglobin A1C testing
  • On-site dental services
  • On-site behavioral health counseling
  • Instruction and support in testing blood sugar levels
  • Monitoring blood pressure

Ultimately, the goal is to help those living with diabetes manage their condition and enjoy a good quality of life. North Country HealthCare’s education resources also help those at a high risk of developing the condition change their lifestyles, preventing diabetes and changing the course of the future for themselves and their families.

The team of providers, care managers and program coordinators at North Country HealthCare are also committed to helping our patients manage various chronic conditions besides diabetes. Talk with your primary care provider about what steps you can take to stay at the tip-top of your health. Educational resources and care programs are available in English and Spanish. We work hard to accommodate every patient’s unique needs.

Final thoughts

Anyone diagnosed with diabetes automatically qualifies to participate in North Country HealthCare’s diabetes education and care programs. Additionally, friends and loved ones of those living with diabetes can also take advantage of the programs’ resources on caring for diabetic patients.

The education programs are available digitally on our website and via our Zoom channels. On-site services are available at any of our 12 centers across Arizona. Get in touch today to learn more.

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