Fighting diabetes epidemic

Melinda Goodson

The diabetes epidemic in the state of Kentucky continues to grow and according to the American Diabetes Association, there are approximately 531,646 Kentuckians, or 14.5 percent of the adult population residing in Kentucky, living with this chronic disease. Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) wants to bring awareness to the serious and debilitating effects of diabetes by observing American Diabetes Month during November.


"This month we're bringing awareness of the disease to the public," said PMC Diabetes Educator Sandy Chaney. "We want you to know that for most people, diabetes can be prevented by a healthy lifestyle and diet."


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states diabetes is a chronic disease that affects how your body turns food into energy. Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar, or glucose, and released into your bloodstream. Your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin, which acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body's cells for use as energy. If you have diabetes, your body either doesn't make enough insulin or can't use the insulin it makes as well as it should.


"While there is no cure for diabetes, for many people it is a controllable disease," added Chaney. "We can take steps to control the disease and lower the risk of complications by lifestyle management such as adding physical activity, eating a healthy diet, taking medications as prescribed and checking blood sugars as directed."


Along with the steps mentioned above, PMC offers Diabetes Management Classes and a Diabetes Support Group as ways to help patients learn to control the disease.


"PMC has had an American Diabetes Association recognized Self-Management Education Program since 1998," Diabetes Education Nurse Practitioner Mavis Lowe said.


For American Diabetes Month, the PMC Diabetes Education department will be hosting two free glucose screenings:


•November 10 from 7:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. in the PMC Atrium located on the second floor of the May Tower


•November 17 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the PMC Walmart Clinic located inside the Pikeville Walmart


"Please take time out this month and get screened," Chaney encouraged. "It's a simple test that can change your life." 


For more information on the Diabetes services offered at PMC, call 606-218-3513 or visit us online at