Friday, December 5, 2008

Diabetes Education Program at Piedmont Fayette Helps Peachtree City Resident Rethink Holiday Feast

Emmi Farnham was shocked to find out that she had diabetes. She had been experiencing increased fatigue and irritability, nothing seemingly out of the ordinary when she went to get routine blood work. Her doctor ran some blood tests, and this past July, the Peachtree City resident was diagnosed with diabetes and referred to the Piedmont Fayette Hospital (PFH) Diabetes Care Program. The program combines personalized attention, extensive training and follow-up care to provide the resources and education needed to manage diabetes with comfort and success.

“I was shocked, frustrated and angry,” said Farnham. “I had always tried to do the right thing, I don’t eat rice or pasta; I don’t even drink orange juice, and I was convinced the diagnosis couldn’t be right.”

Diabetes, a condition in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin – a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life – is a complex disease that requires constant care. With proper management, patients can feel healthier and reduce risks for developing such serious complications as heart disease, eye disorders, kidney disease, nerve damage and the possible loss of an arm or leg.

Promptly referred to Denise Bennett, MS, RD, LD, CDE, diabetes education coordinator with Piedmont Fayette Hospital, Farnham received a one-on-one consultation where she learned the processes of the body, details of diabetes as well as food exchanges, meal planning strategies, proper timelines and healthy practices to maintain her diabetes.

“Diabetes education is crucial to understanding how the disease affects the body and how to maintain good health while preventing further risk of serious complications,” said Bennett. “Our Diabetes Care program provides the resources our patients need to control and manage their diabetes successfully.”

A variety of factors can cause diabetes; genetics, physical health, lifestyle or even stress.
In the United States, 7.8 percent of the population (approximately 23.6 million children and adults) has diabetes. Unfortunately, nearly a quarter of the 23.6 million, approximately 5.7 million are unaware they have the disease.

“With the holidays approaching, individuals, especially those with diabetes need to focus on what they are eating and be mindful to eat healthy and sensible meals,” said Bennett.

This will be Farnham’s first holiday season living with diabetes.

“I know it’s going to be difficult to mind my eating habits this year,” she said. “Especially with all the delicious food and tempting sweets, but I just have to remember that when you cheat, you’re only cheating yourself.”

Farnham enrolled in PFH’s Intensive Diabetes Care Class, a day long session that is taught by certified diabetes educators. It reinforced what she learned from Bennett about portion size, understanding nutrition labels and eating with confidence.

“It was nice to have others going through it with you,” said Farnham. “The whole program was really great; now I feel more in control, I know that I have the support of my doctor and resources available to me. Knowledge is empowering, and I feel very much in command of my situation and my life now.”

Piedmont Fayette Hospital’s comprehensive Diabetes Care program, certified by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), provides education and training to individuals diagnosed with Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes. Certified diabetes educators offer a comprehensive approach that includes nutrition and meal planning counseling, blood-glucose monitoring, medication and insulin delivery options and more. Participants in the program receive personal counseling and can attend diabetes care classes at the hospital, which focus on healthy meal planning, exercise and weight management and medication management in a group setting.

A physician referral is required for the Diabetes Care program. For more information about PFH's diabetes education services, call 770-719-7290. To learn more about Piedmont Fayette Hospital, visit
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