Monday, March 5, 2018

UPCAP offers free Health And Wellness Programs Across the U.P.

Do you have a fear of falling? Do you struggle with the daily challenges of living with diabetes or other health problem?  Or, do you care for a loved one living at home with memory problems?  If you answered yes to any of on eof these questions, then UPCAP may have a program for you.  For the last 9 years, UPCAP and many community partners have been implementing and expanding a variety of nationally recognized evidence based programs. UPCAP, the UP Area Agency on Aging, targets those aged 60 and older-however, these programs are open to all adults.   These programs are available in most areas of the UP, are held in community settings such as Senior Centers, churches, libraries.  Small groups meet weekly, usually for 6-8 weeks, and people learn from trained facilitators, and also learn from other group members, ways to manage their concerns.

UPCAP and UPDON worked together to bring the first program, Personal Action Toward Health (PATH) to the U.P.  The PATH program, as it's called in Michigan, is Stanford University's Chronic Disease Self-Management program. The program helps people to better manage their condition by discussing tools that can make a difference and goal setting, which empowers people to do what they know they should be doing.  UPCAP offers 2 other similar programs from Stanford, exclusively for those living with diabetes and for those living with chronic pain.  People who take this class often say they feel like they are in more control of their health, rather than their health controlling them.

Another program offered by UPCAP is called, A Matter of Balance, Managing Concerns About Falls.  This 8 session program helps to reduce people's fear of falling, and thus, stay active and independent.  Group discussions help people set goals for physical activity, manage behaviors and disruptive thoughts, and learn exercises to help improve balance, strength, and flexibility.  Many people report that after taking the class, they feel more confident that they can reduce their risk of falling.

Creating Confident Caregivers is for families caring for someone living at

home with memory loss.  The program provides caregivers with information, skills, and attitudes to manage stress and increase their effectiveness as a caregiver.  Often, they feel more able to take control and manage situations that may arise in the day to day care of someone with memory loss.

Two other programs are available in limited areas, Healthy Eating for

Successful Living in Older Adults, and Walk With Ease.

To register for upcoming programs or to be placed on a waiting list, contact


Monday, February 26, 2018

Don't Let Diabetes Limit You

When Michael Parks was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 22, he was an active young man. He played college hockey for Finlandia and was just starting his junior year of college and had two years of nursing school in. Despite having the nursing experience, it took Michael a while to figure out what was going on with his body.

“Prior to diagnosis, I had a shoulder injury requiring surgery. Shortly after surgery (about 6 weeks), I started experiencing extreme thirst, frequent urination, and weight loss (about 15 lbs). I remember the symptoms being very intense. I was getting up 4-6 times per night to use the restroom. I also felt very tired. It was a hot humid summer, so I blamed it on the weather. I would walk up the stairs with my hands on my knees, just to give me extra help to get up the stairs. I then started to know something was wrong. But, even with two years of nursing school under my belt and heading in to my junior year at Finlandia, I never once thought that I had type 1 diabetes.”

“I was hospitalized one night (when first diagnosed). As they gave me IV fluids and insulin to lower my sugar, it was amazing how the feeling to urinate subsided. I had a lot of family visitors and my girlfriend, now wife by my side. I think initially, everyone had a more difficult time with it then I did as I believe I was in shock. It finally struck home for me when I was discharged with so many questions and then had to pick up all my supplies and insulin at the pharmacy. That’s where I broke down and realized this was forever.”

Michael had no history of type 1 diabetes that he was aware of but did have a family history of other autoimmune disorders. The diagnoses came as a bit of a shock.

“At first, I had so many questions. In the hospital, I was taught to give my injections, treat low blood sugar, and what foods would affect my blood sugar. I remember everyone talking about low blood sugar, but I did not have one in the hospital. When I got home, I was wondering what it would feel like. Then the first one happened. I did not like it, but knowing what it felt like, I knew that I could handle it.”

“Also at the beginning, I was doing very basic insulin dosing, correctional scale only (only covering for his blood sugar when it was out of the target range- which can vary but generally between 80 and 180). I was doing what everyone told me to do. However every time I ate something my sugar would go over 300. Within being home for a week, I also developed this white looking tongue. At that point, I got nervous and talked to our good friend and neighbor, June Wickstrom, who is a nurse. She asked me about my insulin plan and told me I likely had thrush (yeast infection) on my tongue from high sugar levels. She then set me up with Dr. Grossman and his diabetes educator Marli Carlson. They got me on a long acting insulin, taught me about carb counting, and lifestyle management. After that, I felt so much more confident, I was able to keep my blood sugar levels within reason, and for the first time I thought ‘I can do this.’ Within 1 month after diagnosis, I was back at school and playing college hockey.”

Michael has learned to live with diabetes and has been lucky to have a great support system. He has also turned what he has learned living with diabetes into a career as a diabetes educator and enjoys working with others living with the same disease.

“A support system is huge. My family, my wife, and my friends have always been there for me. I even get a lot of support and questions from my 3 year old daughter. I think it has made shots easier for her since she watches her dad do so many. Diabetes is one of those diseases where you can’t take days off. Everything we do every day impacts our blood glucose control and out long term outcomes. So with that, it adds high levels of stress, anxiety, and often depression. Without family and friend to support us, it would be too easy to give up and stop trying.”

 “I am very open about my diagnosis. It is nothing that I am ashamed of. I have found a way to be at peace with my disease, living a very normal lifestyle, with a few extra daily tasks. I look at diabetes as something that I have accepted and live with. I will never say I can’t do something because I have diabetes. I simply just bring my diabetes with me for whatever I do.  I love trying to teach people who are struggling with their disease, to help give them some freedom within this disease and increase their quality of life.”

“I was not involved in diabetes education prior to my diagnosis. I had just finished my second year of nursing school, and had never thought about working with diabetes.

My first nursing job, I worked in an Emergency Department (ED) in Mount Pleasant, MI. We had a few people that presented with new type 1 diabetes, and they had me bring my meter and shots to show them. By doing this and showing them the things I was able to accomplish with T1D, it put them at ease. After seeing that and feeling so good about helping someone, I started thinking about a career teaching people about diabetes. I still did continue to get other experience as a nurse, but always kept the idea of being a diabetes educator on the back burner. After working ED, Cath Lab, and ICU as a nurse, an opportunity to work as the Inpatient Diabetes Educator at UPHS-Marquette arose and I was able to accept and have been working with diabetes since.”

Michael has turned being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes into a positive and has been able to help many newly diagnosed diabetics onto a more stable path. Diabetes can be a scary prognosis for people to deal with and Michael uses his personal knowledge to educate his patients.

 “When I teach newly diagnosed children and their families, I always tell them that diabetes is not a limiting disease. The sooner you take control of diabetes, accept the plan, get follow, get educated and continue to get educated, the less likely diabetes will ever control you.”

Monday, February 19, 2018

Keeping Diabetes at Bay

Now is the perfect time to start preventing yourself from becoming another type 2 diabetes statistic. One out of three adults has prediabetes that, left untreated, can turn into type 2 diabetes. Nearly 90% of those adults don’t even know that they have prediabetes. Luckily for adults here in the U.P., there are classes offered to help keep type 2 diabetes at bay.

Diabetes Prevention Weight Loss Programs (DPP) are being offered in many communities across the U.P. The National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) is an evidence-based lifestyle change program which has been demonstrated to delay or prevent the development of type 2 diabetes among people at high risk. The program, designed to support lifestyle balance, healthy eating, physical activity and exercise, and motivational support. The program is delivered by a trained Lifestyle Coach, who facilitates the approved curriculum and works to encourage and sustain group interaction so that participants support each other during the year-long program.

Tracey Hamilton is participating in a DPP class that is being held at the Negaunee Senior Center. Tracey was at risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. She joined the class to get weight loss support and has benefited greatly from the class. The goal for the class is to lose between 5 and 7% of their body weight. Tracey has lost 6% since beginning the class.

With the help and support of the DPP class, Tracey has been able to learn many healthy habits that will hopefully stick with her even after the class is completed. She found the class to be most helpful in “what to look for when reading food labels and how to substitute higher calorie food with lower calorie options.” Tracey has also found ways to “cut down on portion sizes and she has cut way back on snacking, especially sweets” and was able to find success and lose weight. She feels that the program has “helped improve her health” and she feels much better than before she began the class.

Think a Diabetes Prevention class might be what you need to help keep type 2 diabetes at bay? Please call 2-1-1 to see if a program is starting up in your area.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Diabetes PATH Program

Sometimes having diabetes is no FUN!! Do you ever feel overwhelmed about everything you have to do to take care of your diabetes? Are your family members or friends acting like the ‘diabetes police’ – telling you what you should and should not do?

Learning more about diabetes and attending a Diabetes PATH program can help you take care of your diabetes and stay healthy. Developed by Stanford University, the Diabetes PATH program can help you make changes that are important to you to better manage your diabetes. Studies have shown that attending the Diabetes PATH program can help you:

·         Feel better

·         Talk more easily with your health care providers about your diabetes

·         Make food choices that help keep your blood sugar in a healthy range.

·         Be more confident in caring for your diabetes.

What is Diabetes PATH?

·         Program that meets once a week for 6 weeks.

·         Designed for people with diabetes, their families and care givers.

·         Covers diabetes self-management topics such as healthy eating, physical activity, sick day management, foot care, medications, managing high and low blood sugars, and working with health care providers.

·         Helps people set action plans to achieve their personal goals

·         Works with regular medical care like Medical Nutrition Therapy and Diabetes Self-Management Education; it does not replace any services.

Where do I find a Diabetes PATH program?

·         It is offered in many places across the U.P., often in the spring and fall.

·         Call 2-1-1 for information about programs in your areas.

·         Diabetes PATH is FREE in most areas.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Don’t Get Type 2 Diabetes – Join a Diabetes Prevention Program

Could you be on the path to developing type 2 diabetes? It is estimated that 1 out of 3 adults and half of all seniors have pre-diabetes, a condition that often leads to diabetes, if not treated.  One of the scary parts is that most people with pre-diabetes don’t even know that they have it!!!  The positive news is that some weight loss and physical activity can help prevent type 2 diabetes.

Julie Mallard of Escanaba was one of the many Yoopers who found out through a simple blood test at her hospital lab that she has type 2 diabetes (The test is repeated a second time on a different day to make sure you really do have pre-diabetes). Julie then decided to go into action; she didn’t want to get diabetes – she joined a local Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP); this program has been proven to help prevent type 2 diabetes.

According to Julie ‘The DPP has been a game changer for me. I’ve tried various weight loss programs and methods before, but I could never stick with them. For the first time in my life, I have started to make lifestyle changes that don’t feel temporary. I’m not perfect with my program, but I have stuck with it, and even when I sometimes make choices that aren’t the healthiest, those are now the exception rather than the norm.I appreciate the structure of the DPP – beginning with a focus on food and nutrition, gradually working in the exercise and fitness element, and all the while sharing the journey with the same group of people week after week. The support has been tremendous and the results have been thrilling.”

To find a Diabetes Prevention Program in your area, call 2-1-1.  Some are free and other programs have a cost.  If you don’t have a program in your area, see your local RD for assistance or consider joining a weight loss support program like TOPS or Weight Watchers.
You can find more information about pre-diabetes on the U.P. Diabetes Outreach and UPCAP website. There is even a simple quiz to take to see if you are at high risk for having pre-diabetes. 

Once a person develops diabetes, there is no cure, but it can be controlled. Health care costs increase by about 50% when a person gets diabetes. Take action today - prevent type 2 diabetes!! Get your a fasting blood sugar (glucose) test; if  it is between 100 and 125 mg/dL, join a Diabetes Prevention Program to help you lose weight and avoid getting diabetes. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

More Hope for Those with Type 1 Diabetes

Currently about 5 to 10% of people living with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. It differs from type 2 diabetes in that the pancreas stops making insulin and type 1 diabetes can not be prevented. There is also no cure and people with type 1 diabetes must use insulin everyday.  However, new research has shown that putting a covering around pancreatic cells and implanting them in rats with type 1 diabeteshelped the rats produce their own insulin for up to 6 months. Plus the covering on the pancreatic cells prevent the body from attacking the cells and no antirejection drugs are needed. The next step is to test it in primates. Read more about it at this link:

Monday, March 14, 2016

If you have diabetes, your close family members are at high risk for developing diabetes too!!

Do you have diabetes? If so your children, brothers and sisters are at higher risk for developing diabetes. The following website was designed to help people identify their risk for having pre-diabetes or diabetes.  If diagnosed with pre-diabetes, lifestyle changes can help keep the person from getting diabetes. Early detection and treatment of diabetes can help the person stay healthy and avoid the serious diabetes complications like heart attacks, blindness and kidney failure.  Share this website with your family!!