New series aimed at bolstering support system for people with diabetes |

New series aimed at bolstering support system for people with diabetes

A new program at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center aims to support patients with diabetes by educating people in their support system about the disease.
File Photo

A new program at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center isn’t focused on the patients, but rather those who know people with diabetes.

There is often a lack of understanding in terms of what it means to manage and live with diabetes, said Pam Wooster, a YVMC registered dietitian nutritionist and certified diabetes educator. And “most of us know someone” managing diabetes, she said.

About 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year, according to the American Diabetes Association.

More than 100 million U.S. adults are currently living with diabetes or prediabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Colorado in 2016, about 6.2% of adults were living with diabetes.

In Routt County in 2016, approximately 3% of adults older than 20 were living with diabetes.

Managing diabetes can have a significant impact on family life and social life, Wooster said. “People have to make a lot of adjustments.”

The program will offer three information sessions for friends, family, and caregivers of people with diabetes, with the goal to “improve the quality of support through increasing the knowledge and skills of diabetes management of the people in the supportive role,” said YVMC communications specialist Lindsey Reznicek. “Research shows that, when people with diabetes have family or social support, it positively impacts their diabetes management with lower A1C numbers and reducing complications.”

If you go . . .

Supporting Someone with Diabetes series at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center

·         Tuesday, June 18, What is Diabetes and Lifestyle with Diabetes

·         Oct. 15 Managing and Preventing Complications

·         Feb. 18 Taking Medications and/or Insulin and Monitoring Blood Sugars

Information sessions are held from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Conference Room 2.

To register, visit

The first session will be held on Tuesday, June 18, titled, “What is Diabetes and Lifestyle with Diabetes.”

Attendees will learn about topics including meal planning, medications, physical activity, monitoring blood sugars and managing low or high blood sugars.

When people who spend time with someone with diabetes have the knowledge, they can notice when routines and healthy habits are falling by the wayside, and they can help their friends or family members get back on track, Wooster said.

The more good information a supporter has, the more effectively they are able to say “What can I do help?” And, with better knowledge, they know how to help — even when they aren’t asked —and they know the right language to use.

When everyone is on the same playing field with the best available knowledge, it also helps people who are managing diabetes to feel comfortable in expressing their concerns, as well as what their lifestyle goals are, Wooster said.

It can help people cope with the diagnosis and be able to feel they can talk freely about how they are feeling and what they are dealing with on a daily — hourly — basis, she said.  

With diabetes diagnosis often comes depression, and the support of family and friends can play a big role in being able to better cope.

When diabetes is managed well, outcomes are much better. Good management includes a healthy diet, regular physical activity, consistent medication or insulin when appropriate and close monitoring of blood sugar.

“When diabetes is managed, it lowers the risk of other complications associated with diabetes,” Wooster said. The complications can include nerve damage, foot problems, kidney damage, loss of eyesight and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

Diabetes, the seventh leading cause of death, kills more Americans every year than AIDS and breast cancer combined.

Participants do not have to attend all three, and can register at

Walk-ins are also welcome.

The sessions will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Conference Room 2.

To reach Kari Dequine Harden, call 970-871-4205, email or follow her on Twitter @kariharden.

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