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Slowing Down Chronic Disease: May 4, 2013

Helping people help themselves. That’s the goal of Lee Memorial Health’s System’s on-going outreach program.  Called ‘It’s All About You,’ helping people with chronic illnesses manage their disease.

“Our program focuses on anyone 18 years or older who has a chronic condition. We believe that if we focus on the younger population that there will be less problems on going, they will be better equipped to manage their disease; manage their symptoms,” says Joyce Hall, RN case manager with Lee Memorial Health System.

One of the chronic conditions Hall works with is diabetes. With the increase of childhood obesity we’re seeing early on-set diabetes.

“Once they become very obese, they can’t exercise the way they should, their flexibility decreases, they can end up with heart diseases. They can have a stroke, they can have a heart attack, they can have kidney problems because of the fact that they are over weight and therefore not able to take care of themselves,” says Hall.

The six- week program helps people learn about sleep and exercise, as well as setting up an action plan.

“For instance they will be setting goals, ‘what do I want to do today, what do I want to do this week.’ We don’t want them to say I want to be able to walk six miles and lose 100 pounds in a year. When you set goals with unrealistic expectations you’re not going to meet those goals,” says Hall.

In 2010, chronic disease in Lee County included 9% of the population with
34% of people classed as over-weight. This program helps people track their nutrition and hopefully downsize their disease process.

“For individuals with diabetes what’s the number of carbohydrates are they eating in a day because carbohydrates turn into sugar and so there has to be some changes in diet in order to help manage their disease but for any of us if we were to all eat the way that is recommended that people with diabetes eat we would all be a lot healthier,” says Hall.

At the end of the day, it’s about providing steps so people can move forward in life, without being slowed by sickness.