November is recognized each year as Diabetes Awareness Month across Canada. According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, 9 million Canadians (one in four) live with diabetes or pre-diabetes. More than 20 people are diagnosed with the disease every hour of every day.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the pancreas is unable to produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone which is necessary for life, so people with Type 1 diabetes must inject insulin at the time of diagnosis. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic and progressive condition in which the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or the body does not properly use the insulin it makes. High blood glucose levels can cause blurry vision, thirst, exhaustion, hunger, weight gain, weight loss, or frequent urination.
Diabetes can affect men, women and children. Type 2 diabetes is controlled by diet, lifestyle modifications, medications and sometimes insulin. Type 1 diabetes is always controlled with insulin and diet. Although the exact cause of diabetes is unclear, risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include obesity, family history of diabetes, age and schizophrenia. Certain ethnic populations like Aboriginal, Hispanic, Asian, South Asian, or African descent are at a greater risk.
Bluewater Health works with the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network Regional Diabetes Network, community health centres and family health teams in the coordination of diabetes services in Sarnia-Lambton.
Locally, Bluewater Health offers clinical nutrition education and diabetes care for more than 1,400 adults and children in the community. Group and individual appointments are available with one of three full-time Registered Dietitians or three Registered Nurses, all Certified Diabetes Educators. The program includes outpatients with Type 1, Type 2 or Gestational Diabetes.
Each year the program:
- · Receives 50 to 60 new gestational diabetic referrals
- · Teaches approximately 100 adults on how to use an insulin pen
- · Teaches approximately 20 adults on how to use an insulin pump
- · Sees approximately 50 to 60 patients in the First Nation community of Walpole Island
- · Partners with Kettle Point and Stony Creek First Nation communities to support paediatric diabetes management
- · Hosts four paediatric clinics with an on-site paediatric Endocrinologist from London
- · Hosts adult diabetes clinics with local Internists
- · Randomly surveys 125 patients. A typical return rate of 60% shows 100% patient satisfaction with the program’s services.
Bluewater Health’s Diabetes and Clinical Nutrition outpatient program has been located in the Health Services Building on Essex Street for over 40 years. Its services will be relocated from its current address to Bluewater Health’s new facility at 89 Norman Street in Sarnia, during the week of November 21.
During the week of the move, there will be a temporary service disruption while staff re-establishes offices in their new location on Level 1 of the Russell Building. There are no scheduled appointments for outpatients from Wednesday, November 23 to Friday, November 25. The department will open on Monday, November 28 at 8:00 am. All telephone numbers remain unchanged (519-464-4400, Ext. 5329 or 5650) and patient communication regarding the move is underway.