Eighth Annual Diabetes Education Expo March 15

Free event focuses on eye care, shopping on a budget and more

Diabetes Education Expo

Certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian Jennifer Stratton works with a patient in Gifford’s Diabetes Clinic at the Kingwood Health Center in Randolph. (File photo)

RANDOLPH – A diabetes diagnosis can be overwhelming. But Gifford Medical Center is striving to make living with diabetes easier this March when it holds its eighth annual free Diabetes Education Expo.

Sharing everything from eating healthy and cooking on a budget to simple exercises one can do at home, the March 15 expo aims to provide a “Road Map to Managing Your Diabetes.”

Also covered will be eye care in a talk by Dr. Dean Barcelow of Bethel’s Eye Care for You and a discussion by behavioral health specialist Sam Medved on the steps and challenges of making lifestyle changes. A cooking demonstration will be provided and vendor booths will include the latest in diabetes products as well as help from Gifford’s Blueprint Community Health Team in overcoming obstacles to successful self-management.

According to 2011 data from the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million children and adults, or nearly 8.3 percent of the population, have diabetes nationally. In Vermont, the disease affects more than 55,000 people, according to the Department of Health.

Diabetes is marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from the body not producing or improperly using insulin – the hormone needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy for daily living.

To remain healthy, diabetics must have regular checks of eyes, feet, teeth and more and they must take an active role in managing their diabetes through diet, exercise, monitoring their blood glucose and taking medications, if required.

“A diabetes diagnosis and daily living can be overwhelming because it can mean lots of lifestyle or behavior changes,” says Gifford certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian Jennifer Stratton. “I often recommend gradual changes that are doable for the patient and don’t break the bank.

“This year’s Diabetes Education Expo is an extension on that. We’ll talk about how to buy healthy foods on a budget, we’ll demonstrate cooking healthy foods to make them delicious and enjoyable, and we’ll show you simple exercises that you can do at home, without a gym membership or high-tech equipment.”

In fact, there’s a lot a diabetic can do to manage their disease – even their eye health.

Diabetes can damage small blood vessels in the eye’s retina, the back part of the eye. Diabetes also increases one’s risk of having glaucoma, cataracts and other eye problems.

Dr. Barcelow, an optometrist, will share what he’s looking for in the eye when it comes to signs of disease and talk about what patients can do prevent eye problems.

“I like to tell my patients that diabetes is kind of a lifestyle,” he says, listing taking medications as prescribed, diet and exercise as keys to a successful diabetic lifestyle.

To hear Dr. Barcelow, Stratton and the event’s other speakers map out diabetes self-management, sign-up for the expo by March 8. Seating is limited. Call Zach Bean at (802) 728-7100, ext. 6 to register.

The expo takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Use the southern entrance of the hospital (before the Thrift Shop) on Route 12 in Randolph. Get directions and learn more online at www.giffordmed.org.

Diabetes Education Expo Agenda
9 a.m. – Registration, vendor/information booths open
10-10:45 a.m. – Eye Care for Diabetes, Dr. Dean Barcelow, Eye Care for You
10:45-11:15 a.m. – Exercise, Jane McConnell, Gifford pharmacist and exercise enthusiast
11:15 a.m. to noon – What’s Next, Making Changes, Samantha Medved, Gifford behavioral health specialist
Noon-1 p.m. – Lunch
1-1:30 p.m. – Eating Right When Money’s Tight, Jennifer Stratton and Stacy Pelletier, Gifford registered dietitians
1:30-2 p.m. – Cooking demonstration, Chef Steve Morgan, Gifford
2 p.m. – Raffle drawings

Free Diabetes Education Expo Slated for March 23 at Gifford

Event to Focus on Foot and Tooth Health

Gifford Medical Center chefs Pauline Barrett and Steve Morgan

Gifford Medical Center chefs Pauline Barrett and Steve Morgan lead a cooking demonstration at a past Diabetes Education Expo.

RANDOLPH – For most, feet and teeth are essential to daily living and must be kept healthy, but a diabetes diagnosis can mean added foot and dental problems and thus a need for extra vigilance.

Gifford Medical Center’s seventh annual free Diabetes Education Expo on March 23 focuses on foot and teeth health for diabetes, with special presentations from Randolph dentist Dr. John Lansky and Gifford podiatrist Dr. Kevin McNamara.

“So many people don’t realize the importance of particularly dental health when it comes to diabetes care. High blood glucose can lead to more bacteria on your teeth, increasing one’s chance of developing tooth and gum disease,” says Gifford certified diabetes educator Jennifer Stratton. “We’re hoping to bring dental care to the forefront in this year’s expo and talk about another important topic: feet.”

Long-time high blood glucose damages one’s feet in three ways: it can damage nerves (causing a lack of feeling or neuropathy), can affect blood flow, and can depress the immune system.

“The diabetic triad is what makes feet particularly at risk in diabetes,” says Dr. McNamara, who has decades of experience in foot care and also holds a special board certification in the treatment of wounds. “Peripheral neuropathy, peripheral arterial disease and a suppressed immune system: diabetes makes one more prone to these three things.”

“Diabetes is the number one underlying reason for amputations of the foot, many of which are probably preventable,” he adds.

Good blood sugar control, particularly early in one’s disease; wound prevention; and wound care are keys to helping prevent neuropathy and serious foot problems, like infection.
Nationally, 25.8 million children and adults, or nearly 8.3 percent of the population, have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.

In Vermont, the disease affects more than 55,000 people, according to the Department of Health.

Diabetes is marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from the body not producing or improperly using insulin – the hormone needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy for daily living.

To remain healthy, diabetics must take an active role in managing their diabetes. The free expo is one way Gifford helps people with diabetes find the right tools to manage their disease and stay healthy.

The expo is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Randolph medical center and organized by the hospital’s Diabetes Clinic.

Seating is limited and registration is required. Call the Diabetes Clinic at (802) 728-7100 by March 16 to register, including for the free lunch.

Learn more about Gifford Medical Center and its services for diabetics online at www.giffordmed.org.

Expo Schedule

9-10 a.m. Vendor booths open
10-11 a.m. Gifford’s professional chefs lead a cooking demonstration
11 a.m. Randolph dentist Dr. John Lansky discusses teeth and diabetes
Noon Lunch (vendor booths open)
1 p.m. Gifford podiatrist Dr. Kevin McNamara talks about foot health
2 p.m. Raffle drawings