Category Archives: Chronic Disease

Living Well With Diabetes

Diabetes can be an overwhelming experience both physically and mentally. It is common to feel overwhelmed, sad, or angry when you are living with diabetes. You may know the steps you should take to stay healthy, but have trouble sticking with your plan over time.  That’s why it is so important to manage your diabetes every day.  Below are tips on how to cope with your diabetes, eat well, and be active:

  • Reduce your level of stress – Too much stress can cause a rise in your blood sugar. Try deep breathing, gardening, taking a walk, meditating, working on a hobby, or listening to your favorite music. Ask for help if you feel down. A mental health counselor, support group, member of the clergy, friend, or family member who will listen to your concerns may help you feel better.
  • Eat well – Make a diabetes meal plan with help from your health care team that has food choices that are lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt and higher in fiber. Choose foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, bread and cereals, and low-fat or skim milk and cheese. Drink water instead of juice and regular soda.
  • Be active – Set a goal to be more active most days of the week. Start slow by taking 10-minute walks, three times a day. Twice a week, work to increase your muscle strength. Use stretch bands, do yoga, heavy gardening (digging and planting with tools), or try push-ups. Stay at or get to a healthy weight by using your meal plan and moving more.
  • Find a diabetes education class – Take classes to learn more about living with diabetes. There may be a diabetes self-management education (DSME) class in your area that can introduce you to new tools and give you support with managing your diabetes. To find a class, check with your health care team, hospital, or the DHEC office in your area. You can also search online.

To learn more about your risk for diabetes, click here to take an online risk assessment.  For more information on how to prevent or manage diabetes in SC, please email ndpp@dhec.sc.gov or call 803-898-1934 to speak with someone in DHEC’s Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity and School Health Division.

 Additional Resources to Help You Prevent and Manage Diabetes

Know the ABCS of Good Diabetes Control

Taking care of your diabetes and the conditions that come with it can help you lower your chances of heart and blood vessel disease. Every step you take to keep your ABCS (A1C, blood pressure and cholesterol) in your target range and quitting smoking, will help lower your risk of heart disease or a stroke.

  • A is for A1C. The A1C test gives you a picture of your average blood glucose (blood sugar) control for the past two to three months but is different from the blood sugar checks you do each day. The results give you a good idea of how well your diabetes treatment plan is working. Having too high levels of blood sugar over time can harm your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, feet, and eyes. Ask your health care provider what your goal should be.
  • B is for blood pressure. High blood pressure makes your heart work harder than it should and can lead to a heart attack or stroke.  High blood pressure, often called the silent killer, won’t go away without treatment. That could include lifestyle changes and, if your doctor deems necessary, medicine. Ask your health care provider what your blood pressure goal should be.
  • C is for cholesterol. Your cholesterol numbers tell you about the amount of fat in your blood. Some kinds, like HDL cholesterol, help protect your heart. Others, like LDL cholesterol, can clog your arteries. High triglycerides raise your risk for a heart attack or a stroke. Ask your health care provider what your cholesterol numbers should be.
  •  S is for stop smoking. Not smoking is especially important for people with diabetes because both smoking and diabetes narrow blood vessels. Blood vessel narrowing makes your heart work harder. E-cigarettes aren’t a safe option either. If you are having trouble quitting, the Quitline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is free for any SC resident. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).

To learn more about your risk for diabetes, click here to take an online risk assessment.  For more information on how to prevent or manage diabetes in SC, please email ndpp@dhec.sc.gov or call 803-898-1934 to speak with someone in DHEC’s Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity and School Health Division.

 Additional Resources to Help You Prevent and Manage Diabetes

DHEC in the News: Stormwater drainage inspections, stroke center accreditation, expansion of diabetes prevention program

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Town of Bluffton begins stormwater drainage inspections

If Bluffton residents see engineers working around their neighborhood drains or ponds, it’s likely because of a federally-mandated inspection of the town’s stormwater drainage systems.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has been running tests on the May River and its waterways for the past few years because of fecal bacterial pollutants that have been found in the watershed.

Carolinas Hospital System receives Stroke Center Accreditation

FLORENCE, SC – Carolinas Hospital System has been awarded the Gold Seal of Approval for stroke care by The Joint Commission. The advanced certification, as a Primary Stroke Center from The Joint Commission, recognizes the hospital’s commitment to the highest standards in the country for stroke care.

“This certification is a national recognition of Carolinas Hospital System’s excellence in caring for strokes,” said Gary Malaer, CEO. Stroke is the nation’s fifth leading cause of death.

General Interest

AMA Expanding Diabetes Prevention Program to Eight More States

The American Medical Association announced an expanded, multi-state effort that aims to reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes nationwide. It builds off AMA’s initial work to prevent new cases of type 2 diabetes in California, Michigan, and South Carolina and expands that to similar statewide efforts in eight additional states to help reach more of the 84 million American adults who unknowingly live with prediabetes — the precursor to type 2 diabetes.

National Diabetes Month: An Overview of the Disease

November is National Diabetes Month and throughout the month, DHEC’s Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity and School Health Division is highlighting the impact diabetes has on the citizens in South Carolina (SC) and millions of Americans across the country.

According to the 2014 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, SC ranks seventh highest in the nation in the percent of the adult population with diabetes. The prevalence of diabetes increases with age – a dramatic increase can be seen among those 45 and older. In 2014, three people died each day from diabetes – that is one death from diabetes every eight hours.  Research has shown that improving food choices, a modest weight loss (5-7 percent of body weight) and getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity weekly helps to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

What are the different types of diabetes?

  • Prediabetes – a wake-up call that you are on the path to diabetes. Prediabetes means your blood glucose level is higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes often can be reversed through lifestyle changes such as increased physical activity and weight loss. The earlier the diagnosis, the more likely it can be reversed or prevented. When you have prediabetes, it puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke. But you can take action to lower those risks by enrolling in a local National Diabetes Prevention Program.
  • Type 1 diabetes – usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. Only 5% – 10% of people with diabetes have this form of the disease. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. The body breaks down the sugars and starches you eat into a simple sugar called glucose, which it uses for energy. Insulin is a hormone that the body needs to get glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body. With the help of insulin therapy and other treatments, even young children can learn to manage their condition and live long, healthy lives.
  • Type 2 diabetes – the most common form of diabetes and approximately 90% – 95% of people with diabetes have this form of the disease. If you have type 2 diabetes your body is not able to use insulin properly, which is called insulin resistance. Some people with type 2 can control their blood glucose with healthy eating and being active. But, your doctor may need to also prescribe oral or injectable medications to help you meet your target blood glucose levels. Some groups have a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes than others. Type 2 diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, as well as the aged population.
  • Gestational diabetes – During pregnancy – usually around the 24th week – many women develop gestational diabetes. A diagnosis of gestational diabetes doesn’t mean that you had diabetes before you conceived, or that you will have diabetes after giving birth. Women with gestational diabetes have a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. But it’s important to follow your doctor’s advice regarding blood glucose (blood sugar) levels while you’re planning your pregnancy, so you and your baby both remain healthy.

To learn more about your risk for diabetes, click here to take an online risk assessment.  For more information on how to prevent or manage diabetes in SC, please email ndpp@dhec.sc.gov or call 803-898-1934 to speak with someone in DHEC’s Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity and School Health Division.

Additional Resources to Help You Prevent and Manage Diabetes

DHEC in the News: HIV treatment, swim advisories, WIC in Orangeburg

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Stigma preventing thousands with HIV from seeking treatment in SC

(Greenwood, SC – Index Journal) With modern treatment, HIV is no longer a death sentence, but McLendon said the shame surrounding the virus is more deadly than the disease itself. As of 2015, 18,340 people in South Carolina had been diagnosed with HIV, but about 6,235 of them had not received any form of treatment, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. [Elizabeth] McLendon said because many people live with the virus without knowing it or are never formally diagnosed, the number of people not receiving treatment is likely higher. Particularly in rural areas, such as Greenwood County — where there were about 82 people diagnosed with HIV as of 2014, according to AIDS VU — McLendon said the actual number of infected people is likely much larger.

Swim advisory issued for Saluda River because of sewage discharge

(Lexington County, SC – The State) An official swim advisory was issued Sunday, after water quality tests from portions of the Saluda River, near Saluda Shoals Park, showed high levels of bacteria, the Congaree Riverkeeper said Sunday.

The state standard for bacteria is 349, and the sample taken from the river Saturday registered 980.4, Congaree Riverkeeper Bill Stangler said. Such levels could make swimmers ill.

A wastewater discharge from the Friarsgate Wastewater Treatment facility late last week resulted in the increased bacteria level in the water, the riverkeeper said. State health officials had issued a caution to swimmers earlier in the weekend before a formal advisory was issued Sunday with results of water quality tests.

Sewage spill doesn’t stop summer fun at Catawba River

(Rock Hill, SC – The Herald) As of Saturday, Landsford Canal State Park, a popular recreational area in South Carolina about 45 miles south of Charlotte, had posted advisories against boating, wade fishing and swimming in the water, the Charlotte Observer reported. The advisories are posted at the entrance to the park as well as bathrooms and fence posts.

A notice was also posted at the Catawba Indian Nation landing, according to DHEC.

The department states: “DHEC has performed modeling which indicates that the spill should pass downstream of the Landsford Canal and Catawba Indian Reservation landings by Monday evening. Based on this information, we will be able to recommend removal of the notices Wednesday morning.”

An update on the Habersham boil water advisory

An advisory for Habersham residents to boil their water was lifted on Friday.

The precautionary advisory was issued on Thursday by the Beaufort Jasper Water and Sewer Authority and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, according to a BJWSA news release sent out late Friday afternoon. The groups announced on Friday that the latest water sample analyses showed the water in the area was free from bacteria and is safe to consume.

Head Start making impact; OCAB director seeking to enroll more children

(Orangeburg, SC – Times & Democrat) Head Start…participates in USDA’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative, which provides increased access to foods grown from local farmers.

“We applied for those funds to actually purchase fresh fruits and vegetables (from local farmers) to feed the kids. And it’s more to it than that. Children will learn that corn doesn’t come in a can, but they actually learn how food is grown. It helps the local economy, too,” Wright said, noting that children actually participate in food preparation by planting seeds and watching fruits and vegetables grow in their classrooms.

Stroman said the state Department of Health and Environmental Control has implemented a nutrition initiative within the Head Start program. Children are given nutrition lessons and activities, some of which are sent home to parents.

“We also have a certified dietician and nutritionist that approves all of our menus so that they are aligned with the USDA requirements and good healthy eating patterns,” she said.

Stroman said the Head Start program is also partnering with the state DHEC’s WIC (Women, Infants and Children) office to have mobile units come out to its sites to make sure parents’ WIC certifications stay up to date.