AMS to offer free

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 14, 2005



By Griffin Pritchard

Beginning at 9 a.m. on Jan. 19, citizens in the Butler County area will have the opportunity to learn more about diabetes. Keith Vandiver of American Diabetic Supply will be at the Butler County Health Department in Greenville giving out blood glucose monitors to all diabetics.

&uot;The monitors are free to the public. We give meters to all diabetics because we want them to have a good meter to be able to monitor their diabetes,&uot; said Vandiver. &uot;There is no way to manage it without monitoring and that’s the message that I want to give to the people, especially those in the Black Belt area of the state.&uot;

According to information gathered by the Alabama Department of Public Health, over 16 million Americans have either the Type I or Type II version of this disease.

In 2003 alone, the state of Alabama had whopping 290,000 adults, ages 18-70, being diagnosed with the disease, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, But, that number is down 11,000 from 2002’s 301,000 adults diagnosed with some form of the disease.

&uot;We had a lot of people in our area that are diabetics but are having problems buying pieces of equipment and getting supplies,&uot; said Ziba Anderson, administrator of the Butler County Health Department. &uot;We did this as a way to help those people out.&uot;

According to the CDC’s stats, California has nearly 1.9 million adults diagnosed. Throughout the southeastern part of the United States, Alabama has the second highest behind Florida with 1.1 million.

All of these statistics will be points of discussion during the program that Vandiver will put on at the Health Department.

&uot;There is statistically more diabetes reported in the BlackBelt area and really there are not enough diabetes educators in the same area,&uot; said Vandiver. &uot;That’s what we are going to try to do, fill that gap. We are going to focus on things like ‘What is diabetes?’ and ‘What causes it?’ We are going to talk to them about getting hemoglobin tested every three months, and a yearly retinal exam. They also need to know about getting a yearly dental exam. We also talk to them a little about foot care because that is where diabetics seem to have the most problems. But, the main focus is going to be general program on diabetes and how they can manage it.&uot;

Diabetes attacks the body in two forms and people usually are diagnosed with one or the other.

Type II diabetes is commonly known as adult-onset diabetes noninsulin-dependent diabetes, is the most common form of diabetes. People can develop Type II diabetes at any age–even during childhood. This form of diabetes usually begins with insulin resistance, a condition in which fat, muscle, and liver cells do not use insulin properly. At first, the pancreas keeps up with the added demand by producing more insulin. In time, however, it loses the ability to secrete enough insulin in response to meals. Being overweight and inactive increases the chances of developing Type II diabetes. Treatment includes using diabetes medicines, making wise food choices, exercising regularly, taking aspirin daily, and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol, according to

&uot;I do focus on monitoring because the key to managing the disease is monitoring,&uot; said Vandiver. &uot;People will say that I feel good so I don’t need to monitor, but if you feel good that’s more reason to monitor so you can know the numbers and understand them and then look at what you do to make you feel good. If you manage your diabetes and know the numbers that you monitor then you will have a better understanding of how to control your diabetes. But, I guess the biggest thing that I have learned from going to several workshops and know that the only way to manage is to know those numbers.&uot;

Type I diabetes is an even bigger threat for the people who are diagnosed with it due to the fact that they become totally insulin dependant. says that Type I diabetes &uot;is commonly known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is usually first diagnosed in children, teenagers, or young adults. In this form of diabetes, the beta cells of the pancreas no longer make insulin because the body’s immune system has attacked and destroyed them. Treatment for type 1 diabetes includes taking insulin shots or using an insulin pump, making wise food choices, exercising regularly, taking aspirin daily (for some), and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol.&uot;

Adults diagnosed with Type II diabetes also need to become more aware of how their body is functioning. Feet problems begin to occur with people who have either Type II or Type I diabetes, but become more prevalent in those with Type I.

&uot;Because of neuropathies that occur within the feet,&uot; said Vandiver, &uot;they are usually a big area of concern. Diabetics sometimes begin to experience problems in the areas that are farthest from the heart. They lose feeling in their feet for example. They might not wear shoes and step on the nail and if they don’t know it because they don’t have any feeling in that foot, then a small puncture could become a major infection. If we get in an area where that becomes an issue, then we’ll educate about good foot-care to make sure they wear shoes all the time. Sometimes we’ll have a podiatrist come in and do a foot program.&uot;

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetics can take steps to make sure that their feet are protected.

Some of the steps include keeping the toenails cut in a straight line so that jagged edges don’t cut the toe next to it, wear shoes at all times. The CDC also advises that diabetics should avoid wearing flip flops, or shoes with thin soles and for ladies to avoid wearing shoes that are too big or too small and to stay away from patched hosiery that could cause a blister to develop on the foot.

But, the big issue that will be discussed on Jan. 19 will be monitoring the disease.

&uot;Our program is kind of like interacting with the audience to see where they are and hoping that I make a difference by the end of the day,&uot; Vandiver said. &uot;I am one of those people who are lucky enough to get paid for being able to do their calling and if I can get one person to check one time and change their quality of life then I feel fulfilled in my job. When we give out meters, we don’t give out cheap meters just to give out meters. We give out quality plasma reading meters. Most of the meters we provide to people are the ones that are advertised on TV. We have a great relationship with several suppliers that allow us to be able to do this.&uot;

The &uot;Free Meter Day&uot; will be held Jan. 19 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and will take place at the Butler County Health Department in Greenville.

&uot;I think that a program like this will be very beneficial and an asset to the people of Butler County,&uot; said Anderson. &uot;All we are trying to do is make something available to people that have diabetic problems. We also encourage the doctors or professionals from other clinics to send their patients that are having problems with their diabetic equipment to come in and see what they can do. This event is a community effort it’s just not the health department’s.&uot;

Any questions can be directed to the Butler County Health Department at 382-3154 or to the American Diabetic Supply at 1-888-699-1237.