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St. Luke’s Health Memorial Recognizes National Diabetes Month

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St. Luke’s Health Memorial recognizes November as National Diabetes Month by offering discounted A1C blood screenings throughout the month. This non-fasting blood screen can be done at Express Lab for just $10.

The theme of World Diabetes Day, held on November 14, was “America Gets Cooking about Diabetes.” A fundamental element in a diabetic’s life is a healthy diet. Many who develop diabetes at a later age struggle with preparing meals that keep their disease in check.

Willie Watts was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes at the age of 56. He said the key to managing his disease is cutting down on portion sizes and eliminating unnecessary sugars.

“It’s a day to day thing,” Watts said. “You have to make sure you eat breakfast, and when you go out to eat to cut back. I’ve kept my weight down by trying to walk 30 minutes each day and play tennis.”

As a social worker who works with different state agencies providing health care in the home, Watts has seen numerous patients whose diabetes have gotten out of control.

“I’ve seen people who have lost their limbs because of diabetes,” Watts said. “It’s best to catch it early.”

Multiple departments within the hospital joined together on World Diabetes Day to host a free health fair in the hospital’s main lobby to provide education and discounted diabetes screenings.

During the health fair at St. Luke’s Health, Executive Chef Manuel Marini demonstrated how to make a healthy and tasty meal fit for any diabetic.

The Polk Education Center offered diabetes information, the Wound Care Center offered information on foot health for diabetics and the Express Lab discounted screenings.

When Watts was diagnosed with diabetes, his physician referred him to the Polk Education Center.

“It was a good experience, and they gave me a lot of information,” Watts said. “They gave me a meal plan and explained to me the foods that would make my blood levels spike.”

It’s the need for education for patients like Watts and so many others that led the Polk family to establish the Polk Education Center nearly 20 years ago. Diabetes runs heavily in the Polk family. Ray Polk and his parents were all diabetic and insulin dependent. When his father died 20 years ago, Polk went to the St. Luke’s Health Memorial board and asked that something be done to educate others like himself.

“It’s important for the patient to understand his own care,” Polk said. “Diabetes is one of the only diseases that the patient can really control if he’s educated on what to do. Receiving that education, in my personal opinion, is the most important thing a diabetic can do.”

For more information about the Polk Education Center or diabetes awareness, call 639-7585. For more information about the discounted A1C screening, call the Express Lab at 639-7726.

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