Navigating Diabetes with Local Resources at UnityPoint Health – Grinnell

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(Grinnell, IA – November 7, 2023) November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 37 million Americans have diabetes, and another 96 million have prediabetes. It’s important to understand the early signs and symptoms so individuals can know when to seek treatment.

“Living with diabetes can be challenging, but with increased knowledge of the disease it is much easier to handle,” says Mary Waechter, RN, CDCES, Diabetic Educator at the UnityPoint Health – Grinnell Diabetes and Nutrition Education Clinic.

 What is diabetes?

Diabetes is characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from defects in the body’s ability to produce and/or use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that the body needs to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy. The most common forms of diabetes are Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Other types of diabetes include prediabetes and gestational diabetes.

Left untreated, diabetes can lead to serious health complications, including heart disease, stroke, blindness and kidney failure.

 What are the signs and symptoms?

Individuals exhibiting some of the following signs should contact their primary care provider for further evaluation.

Type 1

  • Sudden weight loss
  • Increased appetite
  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision

Type 2

  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Frequent infections
  • Slow healing sores

“Patients are not alone to figure out all the details about diabetes,” says Waechter. “I am here for them as an educator to help them learn more about diabetes, how to get a better understanding of it and how to control it. It is not easy making changes, but I am here to support you.”

Contact your primary care provider or call (641) 236-4323 to learn more about the UnityPoint Health – Grinnell Diabetes and Nutrition Education Clinic and their services. A provider referral is required for a Diabetes and Nutrition Education Clinic consult.