Education is Key in Diabetes Treatment

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Published: Dec. 22, 2021 at 9:07 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 22, 2021 at 9:24 AM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Johnnie Floyd has lived in the Midlands her whole life. She likes to travel, read, and enjoys spending time in her garden.

She’s also diabetic.

“1978, when I became pregnant with my first child, it was a very exciting time and I had found out that I was a gestational diabetic,” say Floyd.

For a short time, Johnnie’s blood sugar went back to normal, but became high again during her second pregnancy.

After a few more regular check-ups with her doctor-- she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes

“I was real sad, and kind of became depressed a little bit, because I knew that I was going to have to make some huge lifestyle changes.”

But she found the strength to take action and started attending a diabetes education class her doctor referred her to.

She says she was able to learn about new ways to help monitor her glucose levels.

“I can pick up my phone at any certain time because I have an app, it will show me what my blood sugar levels are.”

Now 14 years later, Johnnie’s still taking steps to educate herself and the community.

Dr. Venkata Sai Bhavana Chinnakotla specializes in diabetes care at Lexington Endocrinology. She says diabetes diagnoses are going up. In fact, 1 out of 8 adults in South Carolina is diagnosed with diabetes.”

“Particularly coming to South Carolina, it could be because there’s a lack of education. Our diets, a lot of our diets are traditional, southern based, and as we grow older it’s not the best, especially when we know we’re at risk for diabetes due to genetics,” Says Chinnakotla.

According to DHEC, 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year.

One in four people over the age of 65 has diabetes in South Carolina and it’s the 7th leading cause of death in the state and ranks 8th in diabetes diagnoses across the country.

But not many diabetics take advantage of resources like workshops and classes, which Johnnie says cleared up a lot of misconceptions for her.

“I’ve learned that you really don’t have to deprive yourself of everything. Just changing my eating habits. I’d been used to eating three or four donuts. You can have, you know if you’re just craving something. Moderation is a big key,” says Floyd.

“Making changes to our lifestyle. Which include, cutting back on portions, cutting back on carb rich foods, bringing physical activity into our daily routine, and trying to lose weight in a healthy ay and making it a permanent lifestyle change will all result in reversing pre- diabetes or sometimes even diabetes.”

Johnnie says the staff she’s worked with at Lexington Medical Center have gone above and beyond.

She says they will help you with your meal plans, go to the grocery store with you, and even help you in deciding what meals to cook.

She says diabetes hasn’t stopped her from doing what she loves and she’s focusing more on the possibilities in life.

“I am able to do anything that i want to do. I may have to adjust it somewhat, but it’s not like a sentence of you cannot do this, you cannot have that. In fact the more you do, the better you are in helping your diabetes.”

To learn more about the diabetes education classes at Lexington Medical Center, call 803-739-3740.

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