Lunch and learning to cope with diabetes

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 17, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; Carolyn Crumpler, representing A1C Champions, was the guest speaker for this month&8217;s lunch and Learn program at Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital on Thursday.

Crumpler was diagnosed with diabetes in 1975 and has since begun to travel the nation speaking to fellow sufferers about her personal experience and ways to control the disease.

Crumpler began her presentation talking about the A1C level, which is measured using a monthly test. The result is a percentage, which represents a person&8217;s average blood sugar level for that month.

Doctors recommend patients maintain an A1C of below seven percent.

In the old days, Crumpler said, diabetes was monitored by daily finger pricks to check sugar levels. Today, she said, this measurement is not enough to keep diabetes under control.

In addition to keeping up with A1C testing, Crumpler said there are many things that diabetes patients must keep up with in order to manage their condition, which she called the &8220;have to&8221;s.

Some these include: taking medication regularly, sticking fingers daily to measure blood sugar levels, losing weight if recommended by a physician, balancing food, exercising, visiting a healthcare professional regularly and administering insulin injections.

For Crumpler personally, the worst &8220;have to&8221; is insulin injections. Over time, she said, she changed her attitude about this dreaded deed.

Some of the other techniques Crumpler mentioned for keeping diabetes in control is to keep daily journals to help understand the body&8217;s patterns and also focusing on the rewards and benefits of choices and not the things a person cannot change, such as their having diabetes.

If you would like to learn more about managing diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association Web site at www.diabetes.org.