By: Joshua Danker-Dake | Category: Health & Fitness | Issue: September 2010
Fran Hrdlicka, R.N., helps teach the Rogers County Health Department’s free diabetes classes, “I’m in Control.”
It’s time once again for the Rogers County Health Department’s free “I’m in Control” diabetes classes. Registered nurse Fran Hrdlicka has been with the Rogers County Health Department for 30 years, and has overseen the “I’m in Control” classes for the last 15 years. “Diabetes has really become an epidemic in recent years in America, largely because of lifestyle,” she says. “People are spending more time on the sofa, in front of the TV or in front of the computer and not getting enough exercise or eating right. Now we’re finding a lot of young people with type 2 diabetes because of it – ordinarily, people who get type 2 diabetes are usually overweight and over 50 years old.”
Diabetes is a chronic disease that impairs the body’s ability to use food properly. Your body converts much of the food you eat into glucose, a sugar, to use for energy. Your pancreas makes insulin, a hormone that helps insulin get into your cells. Diabetes limits your body’s ability to make enough insulin, or your body’s ability to use its insulin efficiently. This causes blood sugar levels to rise to unhealthy levels. Diabetes can cause a number of serious health complications, including heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, and foot problems leading to infection and amputation. Diabetes is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
There is no cure for diabetes. But it can be controlled through prevention, education, and empowerment, Hrdlicka says.
At the “I’m in Control” classes, a number of physicians and other health experts will cover a range of important topics. Dr. Bill Smith will discuss what exactly diabetes is, while health educator Renetta Harrison will cover stress, and Hrdlicka will cover self blood glucose monitoring. Drs. Judy Riley, David Reinecke, and Robert Parker will discuss eye care. Pharmacist Terry Siribandon will cover medications, podiatrist Mary Johnson will discuss foot care, and physical therapists Drew Smith and Donna Hazel will cover exercise. Diet planning will also be discussed.
That’s a lot to learn, Hrdlicka says. “You’ll get a lot of written material, and we’ll also teach you to keep records of your diet, your exercise, and your blood sugar. These are great to have to take to your doctor so he can see what you’re doing at home.”
The “I’m in Control” classes are offered three times each year. “We usually get between 10 and 30 people each time,” says Hrdlicka. “A lot of people take the classes more than once. Most of the people who come are type 2, although some are type 1. And we have a number of wives who come and take the classes for their diabetic husbands who are at work.”
The Rogers County Health Department’s “I’m in Control” diabetes classes begin Monday, September 20 at the Health Department (2664 N. Highway 88). The classes are free to attend, but you must preregister. To enroll, contact Fran Hrdlicka at (918) 341-3166. You can visit the Rogers County Health Department on the web at www.ok.gov/health.