The Barren River District Health Department is offering a new wave of free diabetes workshops. Starting Saturday, the Health Department is offering virtual classes for residents of all eight counties in the Barren River District.
The workshops, titled Healthy Living With Diabetes, provide tips on self-management such as taking medication and reducing health risks. Course topics include potential complications of diabetes, blood sugar monitoring, exercise, healthy eating, and troubleshooting.
The courses, which will last approximately eight hours, are designed to help people manage their diabetes, said Bethany Crask, a population health specialist in diabetes for the Barren River District Health Department.
“The nature of diabetes is that there is always something to learn,” said Crask.
Course participants are invited to sign up for just one course that provides a deeper understanding of diabetes self-management. At the end of the course, participants have set a goal and a community health worker from the public health department will gradually follow up with each participant over the next four months, Crask said.
Crask herself will organize and teach the classes that have been funded to continue for the next few years, she said.
“Diabetes is extremely common in Kentucky,” said Crask. “About a third of the people in Kentucky have either diabetes or pre-diabetes. That’s a lot of people. “
Not only is it important to teach Kentuckians how to manage their diabetes on their own, there is a need to educate patients about healthy habits, Crask said.
Heart disease often results from diabetes, Crask said. Heart disease is Kentucky’s leading cause of death, according to the CDC.
Healthy practices for people with diabetes like medication, exercise and healthy eating are expensive, which is why the health department decided to offer these courses free of charge to all participants, Crask said.
“There is such a need that people feel empowered,” said Crask. “We want to teach people how to control their diabetes instead of letting their diabetes control them.”
The health department used to hold diabetes education courses in all eight counties in person, but the workshops will be virtual for the foreseeable future, Crask said.
The courses take place once a month and the planning is open for the next three months. There are two more dates in March and four dates each in April and May.