American Diabetes Month

Trinity Health to host free program to public

November is American Diabetes Month, and to honor this, Trinity Health is hosting a free program with guest speaker Dr. Eric Johnson to educate the community on digital tools to help managing diabetes on Tuesday.

Johnson is an associate professor of Family and Community Medicine at the University of North Dakota and has been a physician in Grand Forks for 25 years. He also has Type 1 Diabetes. Because of this, Johnson is passionate about educating and helping those with diabetes make their lives easier.

“I’ll be talking about different technologies that will help people be able to monitor their diabetes,” said Johnson. “There are also technologies that help manage lifestyle components.”

When it comes to diabetes, Johnson said there are many factors people need to be aware and keep track of. There are smartphone apps, pumps, continuous monitoring systems that will aid people in maintaining a better lifestyle with diabetes.

“For a lot of people, there’s a lot of stuff to keep track of. From diets, meals, sick days, blood sugar levels, and insulin. There are a lot of tools out there to help manage these things,” he said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29.1 million people in the United States (9.4 percent of the population) have diabetes, with 7.2 million going undiagnosed.

There are two types of Diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. These types do have many similarities but differ in a big way.

Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease, where the body is attacking itself. The body has attacked and destroyed the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, therefore leaving the body without it. Insulin transports nutrients needed to maintain weight/lean tissue. 5-10 percent of diabetics are Type 1.

Type 2 Diabetes is a metabolic disorder where the body still produces insulin, just not enough and is often coupled with insulin resistance and impaired carbohydrate metabolism. Type 2 diabetics make up 90-95 percent of those with diabetes.

While there’s no guaranteed way to prevent diabetes, there’s a possibility to prevent or delay the onset of Type 2, but there is no preventative tactics for Type 1. Learning to live with and manage your diabetes is very important.

“Effective self-management is nearly a full-time job,” said registered nurse Susan Burkhart, diabetes educator and coordinator at the Center for Diabetes Education. “Anything that can make that job a little easier is worth exploring.”

Whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, Johnson says everyone of all ages has something to gain from the presentation.

“Technology, Tools, and Diabetes” is a free program hosted by the Trinity Health Center for Diabetes Education. The presentation will start with displays and snacks at 5:30 p.m. followed by Johnson’s talk with a question and answer session on Tuesday at Health Center-Riverside, located at 1900 8th Avenue SE.