Diabetes Expo

Older adults with diabetes are:

  • 2X MORE LIKELY to visit an emergency room for low blood sugar
  • 2X MORE LIKELY to develop dementia
  • 2X MORE LIKELY to die from heart disease or stroke

In addition:

  • 1 in 4 people over the age of 65 has diabetes, and one-third of Americans with diabetes don’t know they have it.
  • 1 in 5 people with diabetes has kidney disease.
  • 1 in 5 has vision problems.

Diabetes self-management program helps people with the disease take greater control of their health 

English philosopher Francis Bacon once said, “Knowledge is power.”  While this applies to nearly every aspect of life, it’s especially applicable for people living with diabetes.

The Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing offers Diabetes Self-Management Education and Training, an eight-week program that covers everything from healthy eating and physical activity to reducing risks and preventing complications.  The program is accredited by the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

“Our goal is to provide the information and motivation that individuals need to embrace healthier behaviors resulting in improvements in blood sugar, blood pressure and weight,” says Tracy Garrett, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at the Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing.

Diabetes Self-Management classes are offered several times a year at locations throughout the West Valley.  Registration is required.

This program is covered by most insurance plans, and the Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing staff will communicate with the participant’s physician’s office and insurance company.

Participation in the program requires a physician referral.  To learn about the 2017 diabetes self-management, and diabetes prevention programs, as well as inquire about insurance coverage, call 623-832-WELL (9355).

According to Garrett, the most important things participants will learn from the program are that the disease can be managed, and that they’re not alone—physically or emotionally—in dealing with it.

“People with diabetes sometimes feel ashamed about having it.  They feel alone and frustrated.  I want people to cast off those feelings and realize that there is a whole team of health care providers willing to partner with them,” she says.

“I want our Diabetes Self-Management participants to know that there is hope—that bite by bite and step by step, they can positively impact their today, as well as their tomorrow.”

People with diabetes are encouraged to take advantage of Medical Nutrition Therapy, a personal consultation with a registered dietitian who provides personalized nutrition recommendations based on factors including medical condition, lab values, medication, eating and exercise habits, and personal goals.  The dietitian crafts a plan to help them reach their health goals.

Medical Nutrition Therapy is an insurance benefit.  These consultations should be scheduled every year, just like any other medical appointment.

“Most individuals with diabetes want to manage their condition but just don’t know how,” Garrett says.

“They’re often unaware that education programs are available, or don’t realize how this information can benefit them.”

For adults diagnosed as pre-diabetic or at risk of diabetes, the Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing is pleased to offer our Diabetes Prevention Program, a 12-week series designed to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes.

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:

  • Being overweight and underactive
  • Having a family history of diabetes
  • Being 45 years of age or older

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases reports participants aged 60 and over receiving intensive individual counseling and motivational support in diabetic educational programs reduced their risk by 71 percent.

Center staff are familiar with the research that shows lifestyle changes play a strong role in preventing or slowing the progression of diabetes.  The Diabetes Prevention Program guides participants toward a path of improved health, and is taught by an exercise physiologist and registered dietitians, one of whom is a certified diabetes educator.

The program encourages the participants to:

  • Eat well – eat healthy, low-fat foods and more fruits and vegetables. Also, choose whole-grain foods, lean meat and fish.
  • Get moving – move more and sit less to help you maintain a healthy weight. Increased movement can also improve strength and flexibility.
  • Make a plan – think about what’s important to your health and what changes you’re willing and able to make. Start with one goal and develop a plan to reach it.


(Originally published Nov. 12, 2016; last updated Jan. 12, 2019.)

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