Thursday, June 04, 2015

Diabetes Prevention

'Prevention is worth a pound of cure’ is really true, especially when it comes to a chronic disease like diabetes or heart disease.  A few years ago if a person was told they had borderline diabetes (what we call pre-diabetes today), or if a woman had gestational diabetes, it was thought inevitable that he or she would eventually develop diabetes.   This is no longer the case.  Diabetes is often preventable if lifestyle changes are made when a person is first diagnosed with pre-diabetes, or better yet, before they’re diagnosed.  It takes hard work and a plan but it can be done. 

Nancy Townzen, RN, CDE @ JCH
There are risk factors for diabetes which a person cannot change, such as age, being of Native American, Hispanic, Asian or Black American ethnicity, and having parents or siblings with diabetes. There are, however, many risk factors over which a person does have some control; these include physical inactivity, nutrition, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, use of alcohol and tobacco, and weight.  People with pre-diabetes or with risk factors for diabetes can delay or prevent Type 2 Diabetes through lifestyle changes.  This means reducing weight by 5-10% by making changes in their diet and increasing physical activity.  A weight loss of 10-20 pounds can make a difference.  Thirty minutes a day of moderate physical activity five days a week is the minimum exercise recommended.  This is very similar to advice given to people who already have diabetes and if it is taken seriously a person with diabetes can greatly reduce their risk for complications while a person with pre-diabetes can often return to normal blood sugar levels.

Testing for diabetes is recommended for adults starting at the age of 45 years; however, it should be done at a younger age in adults who are overweight and have one other risk factor. For children 10 years and older diabetes screening is recommended in overweight children who have two other risk factors. If a person’s blood glucose level is initially found to be in the normal range, it should be rechecked every three years.  If a person is found to have pre-diabetes his or her blood sugar level should be checked every year and more often if symptoms of diabetes occur.

If you would like more information about the Diabetes Program at Jersey Community Hospital, you can contact Nancy Townzen, Certified Diabetes Educator at 618.498.8402 Ext. 8290. 


Nancy Townzen, Registered Nurse, Certified Diabetes Educator,

is here to serve you in the Diabetes Program at Jersey Community Hospital.  The service she offers focuses on diabetes prevention and management of diabetes through education, nutrition and physical activity counseling.   She administers Diabetes Risk Tests, provides basic and advanced education sessions about diabetes and its complications, plus other chronic diseases such as heart disease, kidney disease, and hypertension.   Classes are offered as individual and group sessions and are interactive and informal.  The curriculum used is sensitive to an individual’s particular needs and meets the American Diabetes Association standards for diabetes care.  The program helps empower participants to take better care of themselves as well as interact more productively with their healthcare providers. 

Nancy was born and raised in Collinsville, Il.  She attended Southwestern Illinois College where she received her degree in nursing.  She has lived in Kentucky, Utah, and Nevada, only recently returning to Illinois.   She has a wide range of nursing experience including general medical, orthopedics, labor and delivery, surgery, cardiac care and diabetes education. This was obtained while working in settings from a small 25 bed hospital to larger 150 and 300 bed facilities  and then on to an outpatient health center where she served as the Diabetes Coordinator for the past eight years. 

Special interests include her husband, children and grand-children, her Christian faith and church activities.  She enjoys gardening, bird watching, hiking, and bike riding.  Her most recent bicycle adventure with her husband Jim was in the summer and fall of 2014 which took her from Anacortes, Washington, across country to Bar Harbor, Maine, a trip of 3513 miles and worth every pedal. 

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