Phoebe educates people living with diabetes - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Phoebe educates people living with diabetes

Phoebe Putney Memorial hospital is home to a diabetes resource center. (Source: WALB) Phoebe Putney Memorial hospital is home to a diabetes resource center. (Source: WALB)
The center offers classes to educate people about living with diabetes. (Source: WALB) The center offers classes to educate people about living with diabetes. (Source: WALB)
Loree Jones has been living with diabetes since 2004. (Source: WALB) Loree Jones has been living with diabetes since 2004. (Source: WALB)
Heather O'Connor is a certified diabetes educator. (Source: WALB) Heather O'Connor is a certified diabetes educator. (Source: WALB)
O'Connor said many people have diabetes but don't know about it. (Source: WALB) O'Connor said many people have diabetes but don't know about it. (Source: WALB)

Tuesday was national diabetes alert day.

In eight Southwest Georgia counties, almost 14 percent of adults have been diagnosed with the disease.

That's well about the national rate.

But there is good news for those that suffer from it. There's plenty of help locally.

Like educational classes in the diabetes resource classroom at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.

Patients and their loved ones can learn about diabetes and discus ways to control their condition.

"You wish you never found out, but once it happens, you find out it's more common than you realize," said Loree Jones.

68-year-old Jones was diagnosed with type two diabetes in 2004. It runs in his family so he had a feeling it was coming. 

"It's not something you can just find out you've got and then say well I'll do this and then it will go away. No, it's a lifetime situation," said Jones.

When he first found out, he said he listened to his doctors, but over the years he started slacking. 

"Then all of a sudden you realize you are progressively getting worse rather than getting better," said Jones.

Now, he's learning about how to get better with certified diabetes educators at Phoebe. 

"It teaches you what to look out for and makes you more aware of things that affect you on a daily basis," explained Jones.

"We can't always make it go away, but we can help you manage it and get it under control," said certified diabetes educator Heather O'Connor.

She teaches folks three important ways to make lifestyle changes to control their condition; taking their medication, planning their meals and exercising.

"It seems and sounds overwhelming to begin with, but baby steps, small steps, small goals are going to get you to the end of that path," said O'Connor.

Jones said you just have to stick with it and make the changes they suggest.

"Some of them you take a choice to make, some of them will not give you a choice if you want to survive," said Jones.

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