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Interview with Amy Leopard, a diabetes educator at Mt. Nittany Medical Center

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Medical Minute: 4:35

Dave Kurten:  The 3WZ Medical Minute is brought to you by Mt. Nittany Medical Center – “Mt. Nittany Life Forward”.  Today’s subject is diabetes and our guest today is Amy Leopard, a diabetes educator at Mt. Nittany Medical Center.  Thanks for joining us today.

Amy Leopard:  Thanks for having me.

Dave Kurten:  Amy, first of all, what types of programs does Mt. Nittany offer for those with diabetes?

Amy Leopard:  We offer a variety of programs: we do a diabetes self management class, we offer that about five times a year, we alternate between days and evenings; we have a diabetes support group that meets once a month on the second Thursday from 6-7 PM and that is free to the public, family and friends are welcome; we also do individual counseling on diabetes by a certified diabetes educator; we also offer individual nutrition counseling for diabetes or weight management by a registered dietician.  We also have a diabetes book clinic and they offer free screenings to detect nerve damage on people’s feet that may have developed from having diabetes and they have a trained staff there that will work with patients to help prevent any further damage.  We also have an orthotics department that they can fit specially made shoes or brace for people who have diabetes and already have existing damage.

Dave Kurten:  Why are these classes and programs important for the community?

Amy Leopard:  Well, often when patients are diagnosed with diabetes they really don’t get a lot of information at the physician’s offices, because physicians have very limited time with their patients and they also have many disease conditions that they need to treat; often they don’t have the information that they need to give the patients.  So it makes sense to give them a little bit more in-depth educational process so that they can get the best results.  The other thing is that diabetes is a chronic and progressive disease that requires ongoing management to keep blood sugars under control and most of that day-to-day management is being handled by the person with diabetes and not their doctor.  So the more they know the better they are able to make informed decisions of how best to keep blood sugar controlled and prevent complications.  As you know, with diabetes in epidemic proportions it touches just about everyone; having services available not only to people who have diabetes and their families but also for people who feel that they are at risk provides an opportunity for people to be proactive so that diabetes can be prevented or at least delayed.  Having all of these services in our local community lessens the burden of people having to travel long distances to benefit from these programs.

Dave Kurten:  And give us a little more on the diabetes self management classes that are coming up…

Amy Leopard:  Some of the diabetes classes that are coming up; we have a series of four classes that starts Feb. 2, it runs for two weeks, it’s every Tuesday from 9:30-noon.  These classes are taught by CDEs with both nursing and nutritional backgrounds.  The series of four classes covers all aspects of taking care of diabetes, so people can live a healthier and happy life.  The first series discusses a little bit about what is diabetes, how to handle the emotional aspects, why physical activity is important and dispelling some of those myths that we’ve all heard about diabetes.  In the second class, that’s all about diet and nutrition; people learn how to meal plan, count their carbs, read labels, and develop strategies for weight loss and understanding food and also its effects on blood sugar.  For the third class we deal with monitoring blood sugars, where those blood sugars should be, where your targets are, and understanding A1C.  We also discuss blood sugars that are too high and too low and how to treat and prevent them; as well as how to use those blood sugar results to make changes in your lifestyle or your treatment plan.  The last class that we have, class four, discusses the natural course of diabetes, and helps people understand what habits they need to develop to help prevent long term complications, when they should seek medical advice, and knowing their goals and how to achieve them.

Dave Kurten:  Where can community members learn more about these programs?

Amy Leopard:  To learn more about these programs, you can visit our website at www.mountnittany.org, you can type in diabetes for a list of services, the calendar of events, contact information, and even some articles about various diabetes topics.  You can also sign up for an e-newsletter to receive monthly information about all of Mt. Nittany’s health and wellness events.  If you don’t have access to the internet, you can call 231-7000 and request the specific service that you’re interested in or you can call 231-7095 if you’d like to schedule an appointment for diabetes education

Dave Kurten:  Amy Leopard, a diabetes educator at Mt. Nittany Medical Center has been our guest on this edition of 3WZ’s Medical Minute brought to you by Mt. Nittany Medical Center – “Mt. Nittany Life Forward”. 


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