With November being diabetes awareness month, we at Lallie Kemp Medical Center would like to remind readers of how important it is to maintain a healthy blood sugar.

Most recent CDC statistics reveal that approximately 11 percent of adults in Louisiana are diagnosed with diabetes, ranking us 5th highest in the nation. Also, in 2017, 11 percent of the population of Tangipahoa Parish had a diagnosis of diabetes.

Diabetes is a health condition that affects the way your body turns food into energy. Insulin is a hormone in your body that acts like a key, letting blood sugar back into the cells to use as energy.

Two of the most common types of diabetes are Type 1 and Type 2. In Type 1 diabetes, your body does not make any insulin. Type 2 diabetes is by far the most common form of diabetes, caused by your body not using its insulin properly which can lead to chronic damage to the small blood vessels in your body.

High blood sugar levels increase your risk of stroke, heart attack, congestive heart failure, blindness and kidney failure, among other health problems. Lifestyle changes with healthy eating habits and exercise are key aspects to your diabetic care. However, many people with diabetes need medication or insulin to help manage their blood sugar levels.

There are numerous diabetic medications available to patients, depending on the severity of hyperglycemia. Historically, anti-hyperglycemic medications have been very expensive. This leads to many diabetics not taking them as prescribed in order to stretch supplies and even rationing insulin.

At Lallie Kemp we see many patients on a fixed income and many elderly patients on Medicare. We know how important it is for these diabetic patients to take their medicines and to also be able to afford them.

Our Outpatient Pharmacy was initiated with our diabetic patients in mind. We are able to supply our patients with many of their medications for only eight dollars for a 90 day supply, including Lantus insulin.

For nearly the past five years, we have been proud to offer our patients at Lallie Kemp advanced diabetic care through our Diabetic Care Clinic. Patients may be referred to our Diabetic Care Clinic when their blood sugars have become uncontrolled, requiring more in-depth treatment. Our Diabetic Care Clinic takes a multidisciplinary approach to the management of this disease process. Our patients are seen by a nurse practitioner, a nurse and our registered dietitian at each visit.

Each patient has a care plan individualized to their needs, whether it is dietary changes, compliance with blood sugar monitoring, or education on their diabetes medications. We closely follow each patient and their progress in order to get them to their personalized blood sugar goal.

Within our Diabetic Care Clinic we see adult patients over the age of 18 who are diagnosed with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. We also have the ability to initiate and manage continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps for those patients who qualify.

In addition to our accredited Diabetes Education Program, Diabetic Care Clinic, Retinal Screening Clinic and Outpatient Pharmacy, we have most recently added Podiatry Services available to our patients. With foot ulcers and amputations being a major cause of morbidity and disability for diabetic patients, it is important to recognize and manage risk factors early for ulcers and delay onset of adverse events.

In addition to yearly foot exams and education on foot care, we now have the expertise of Dr. Joseph Dileo, DPM, available to our patients who have high risk foot conditions, as well as routine diabetic foot care and nail trimming.

Lallie Kemp Outpatient Clinic accepts commercial insurance, Medicare, as well as all Louisiana Managed Medicaid plans. Call 985-878-1205 for an appointment. Also see https://www.lsuhospitals.org/lak/ for more information about primary care and the different specialty services available.

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