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World Health Day Focuses on Diabetes

If you're living with diabetes in Oxford County, there are services that can help you live life to the full.

This year's World Health Day is all about diabetes.

The World Health Organization is encouraging people to talk about diabetes and to recognize warning signs. 

Since 1980 the number of people living with diabetes has quadrupled and is expected to double again in the next 20 years according to the World Health Organization.

Oxford county has several programs centred around diabetes and dietitian Angie Cornwell, of the Woodstock and Area Community Health Centre, says they offer a few programs, but one of the most popular is called Diabetes Conversations.

"It talks about emotions, it talks about meds, it talks about diet and exercise and all that stuff, but it also talks about foot care and clothes and family members and emotions and moods and all that stuff because the prevalence of depression with diabetes is so much higher."

These sessions involve anyone effected by diabetes - whether that person has diabetes, or a loved one is dealing with the disease - and encourages people to open up and talk to other people going through similar situations. Health care professionals are also on hand to answer questions, but the program really centres around a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Cornwell added that the Diabetes Education Centre in the hospital is a great place to learn more about diabetes and can give you information about prevention or what to do if you've recently been diagnosed. 

"The DEC, which is the Diabetes Education Centre at the hospital, does a lot of really good work with prevention, they do education around diabetes prevention and if you've just been newly diagnosed and you don't know where to start. That's the first place I would start because that's their whole biz, that's all they do so they're very specialized."

Cornwell says there are a few signs to look for if you think you might have diabetes.

"What you want to look for if your blood sugar is running very very high and you haven't been to your primary provider yet you notice you're sweating a lot, you're peeing a lot, you're very hungry, you're very thirsty. Those things will give you the indication that your blood sugar is running very high and you need to check it."

If you have a family history of diabetes or you have some of the risk factors, Cornwell recommends being tested on a regular basis.

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