Classes on diabetes offered this fall

URBANA — People with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes will get a chance to take a free series of classes to better manage the disease, starting this fall.

The classes are being offered by the Champaign County Diabetes Coalition — a group of local health care providers and agencies — and the Provena Center for Healthy Aging, which received a $24,000 grant to offer the Take Charge of Your Diabetes Program.

The grant, awarded locally for the second year in a row for this program, is federal money given out by the Illinois Department of Public Health, said Diane Genthner, director of the Provena Center for Healthy Aging.

Significant others and caregivers are invited to attend the classes along with diabetics and pre-diabetics. The classes will be offered one evening a week starting in the fall, Genthner said.

The starting date of the first six-week program hasn't been determined, but the grant funding will cover running the program five or six times, she said. People can begin registering now and the program will continue to be repeated as the list fills up, she said.

Classes will cover practical ways to deal with fatigue and pain, how to make better food choices, new treatments and how to talk to doctors about health concerns. People taking the classes will receive a diabetes self-management book and relaxation CD.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, and occurs when the body doesn't produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. In the more rare type 1 diabetes, the body doesn't produce insulin, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Genthner said she is forming teams of health professionals and lay leaders who have type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes themselves to teach the classes together, and she is still looking for more of both to help with the program.

It's important to include those lay leaders along with the health professionals, Genthner said, because patients tend to learn more from people actually living with the disease than they do from health educators.

Genthner said she'd like to also get diabetics and pre-diabetics taking the classes who are also smokers connected with counselors on the Illinois Tobacco Quit Line "because their risk is so high."

The Illinois Tobacco Quit Line offers help with smoking cessation.

Smoking is a risk factor for diabetes and can increase complications for diabetics.

The Take Charge of Your Diabetes program is research-based and tested by Stanford University's Patient Education research Center, according to Provena.

To register for the workshops or for more information, call the Provena Center for Healthy Aging at 337-2022.

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