Roussel: Diabetes fight, awareness help offered year-round

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, December 21, 2016

“People who are able to effectively control their diabetes over time have fewer strokes, fewer hospitalizations and less blindness and kidney failure,” asserts Dr. Ed Shahady, a co-founder and current medical director of the Diabetes Master Clinician Program.

“Diabetes is not taken care of in a one-time office visit. It requires an ongoing relationship between providers and their patients.”

Diabetes Awareness Month was in November and during that time we see an array of events and education being marketed to the public.

While it is great to devote a specific time each year to refocus, diabetes left untreated or mismanaged is one disease that can cause multiple complications.

Before taking lives, a poorly managed diagnosis takes “livelihoods,” often times unnecessarily stripping people of their independence.

There is hope. St. James Parish Hospital is proud to offer clinical and educational resources that can help create the ongoing relationship diabetics need to thrive.

It’s on the Rise

The number of people with diabetes — specifically Type 2 Diabetes (adult on-set) —is on the rise nationally as many of the risk factors for this disease — obesity, high blood pressure, sedentary lifestyle, etc. are also increasing.

In addition to a national upsurge, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Type 2 Diabetes is not only more common in rural areas, but living in a rural area like ours also makes it more likely that patients affected by the disease will suffer detrimental consequences.

It Affects the Entire Body

Not only can diabetes affect the entire body — inside and out — having diabetes also increases your risk of other serious issues such as high blood pressure, kidney failure and neuropathy.

An unmanaged diagnosis of diabetes can create a slippery slope of health problems. From blindness to the loss of limbs, diabetes can literally affect a person from head to toe. Although complications can still arise with a managed lifestyle, with help, diabetics can reduce their risk.

Local Resources

Since there is no cure for diabetes, a great relationship with a trusted primary care provider is extremely important to manage this is life-long disease.

St. James Parish Hospital employs four family practice physicians who see patients through two clinics in Lutcher and a clinic in Vacherie. Since diabetes affects so much of the body, it is also important that diabetics “know their numbers.”

Having goals and staying abreast of changes in numbers such as blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and A1C can alert diabetics about problems early on — which is very important.

The hospital hosts several events — including a diabetic luncheon — which offer several of these screenings at no cost throughout the year.

The hospital has a brochure for diabetics to track numbers and goals. Contact our education coordinator at 225-258-5998 for a copy.

Lastly, since diabetes is so prevalent, an ongoing commitment to education is extremely important.

The hospital hosts free monthly support groups that feature local diabetics, family members and clinical and dietary experts to discuss topics addressing important and current information regarding medications, diet, exercise and more.

This is a great opportunity for open discussion and networking to learn from others with the same disease. Starting in January, these meetings will be held the second Tuesday of each month in the hospital meeting room.

For more information about our primary care clinics or to schedule an appointment, call 225-869-5512. To learn about upcoming events and free screenings, visit

Kassie Roussel is director of marketing for St. James Parish Hospital. She can be reached at or 225-258-5998.