Lakeland Health Care

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Diabetes Education Class
Feature Story
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When Charmain Farnan of St. Joseph traveled to New York recently, she
avoided unhealthy foods in favor of the fresh fruit from local markets and the portioncontrolled snacks she had packed at home. But Charmain, who learned she has diabetes last year, wasn’t always this diligent.

“I learned to snack differently and to exercise,” she says. “I was taught to do
whatever it takes to be healthy.”

Charmain applied these strategies to her life after taking diabetes self-management education classes from Lakeland HealthCare. Through the ongoing program, registered nurses and registered dietitians teach courses in diabetes self-management, complete with meal planning to improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of complications. Now, Charmain checks her blood sugar daily, walks regularly, and has lost 30 pounds so far.

In addition to the nearly 24 million children and adults with diabetes, another
57 million people in the United States are estimated to have prediabetes, a condition that increases the risk for diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To address this growing need, Lakeland also provides free monthly prediabetes classes for anyone who has higher-than-normal blood sugar levels or is at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Inspired by the prediabetes class, Benton Harbor resident Mary Ellen Bly made
changes to help delay or prevent diabetes, including eating more fruits and vegetables, using a smaller plate to control portions, and exercising six days a week. As a result, she has lost 25 pounds in the past year and lowered
her cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

“I’m determined not to have to deal with diabetes,” says Mary Ellen. “The class helped me feel good and look good—I’m even
getting a figure again!”

“Diabetes education is an intensely needed service to our community,” says Cheryl Perry, Coordinator, Diabetes Education, Lakeland HealthCare. “We are fortunate to have a dedicated staff of nurses and dietitians, and a program supported by Lakeland. We love our work, and such positive feedback about the
difference that diabetes education has made is our best reward.”

For more information on programs offered by Lakeland Diabetes Education, call
(269) 927-5465 or (269) 683-5510, extension 5465.

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