SIKESTON - Being listed as one of Missouri's 45 recognized diabetes education programs by the American Diabetes Association has been a goal worth achieving, according to officials from Missouri Delta Medical Center's Delta Diabetes Center.
The Delta Diabetes Center's recognition became official Sept. 16, according to Nanette R. Thornton, program coordinator for the diabetes center. Education recognition status is verified by an official certificate from ADA and is awarded for three years.
Programs applying for recognition voluntarily submit to a rigorous review process by diabetes experts, are required to have a certified diabetes educator on staff and must have been up and running for at least one year with statistics proving it has been effective.
MDMC's diabetes team worked long and hard to receive the recognition, according to Thornton - work that has already paid off with patients seeking the center's services after seeing them listed on the ADA Web site.
"It means we, as a team, provide diabetes education that meets the standards set forth by the American Diabetes Association," Thornton explained. "We want to empower the patients so they can control their diabetes along with their health care team."
"It really does take a team effort," agreed Emily Featherston, vice president of nursing at MDMC and overseer for the diabetes center.
Other team members at the Delta Diabetes Center in addition to Thornton, who also serves on the diabetes team as a certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian, include Muhannad Al- Kilani, endocrinologist; registered dietitians Caren Brown and Pam Markin; Sherri Glover, registered nurse/patient education; Maggie Heisler, social worker; Barbara Lacy, secretary; and Amy Gordin, physical therapist and athletic trainer.
In addition to promoting the team concept for diabetes management, ADA's diabetes standards of care provide programs with up-to-date information on diabetes care and guidelines for what patients should expect.
"Diabetics should know their numbers," advised Al- Kilani.
One number to watch is that from a special blood test which measures glycated hemoglobin called the HbA-1c, according to Al-Kilani. "It's an index of diabetes control and should be below 7 percent."
Before the Delta Diabetes Center's education efforts, the average score for uneducated diabetics in this area was 9.01, indicating poor glucose control and a higher risk of complications.
With the center's intervention and education efforts, the average has been lowered to 7.68, with the ultimate goal being to get that number below 7.
Al-Kilani said diabetics should also keep their LDL (bad cholesterol) count below 100 and their blood pressure below 130/80.
Keeping these numbers at or below these levels lowers the chances of having diabetes complications such as eye damage, kidney damage, nerve damage and vascular disease such as heart attacks, strokes and congestive heart failure, according to Al-Kilani.
While some patients will not be able to achieve these numbers, they should still set a goal to work toward, Al-Kilani said.
The need for diabetes education is definitely here, Thornton added: "They call this a 'risk area' for diabetes."
The American Diabetes Association, founded in 1940, is the nation's leading non-profit health organization supporting diabetes research, advocacy and information for health professionals, patients and the public.
For more information about diabetes, call the Delta Diabetes Center at 472-7326.
On the Net: http://www.diabetes.org