Offering prevention and wellness

Published 1:09 pm Thursday, November 13, 2008

Did you know that 7.2 percent of Shelby County residents have been diagnosed with diabetes? That’s higher than the national average.

November is American Diabetes Month, and at least one local health center is doing something to help lower our prevalence. If you drive up and down Highway 280 without ever taking Highway 119 toward Leeds, you may not have noticed St Vincent’s One Nineteen Health & Wellness about a quarter of a mile on the right. For some time I thought the gleaming building was just another spa and fitness center.

As you enter the front door you’re welcomed by almost an acre of stationary bikes and weight equipment, window dressing to the services within those walls. Over the few years since One Nineteen opened, it has slowly added more physicians, physical therapy services and diagnostics.

So, what is this health center doing about our diabetes stats? For starters, on Nov. 4 Dr. David DeAtkine from Endocrinology and Internal Medicine at St Vincent’s Birmingham, an expert on diabetes management, presented a program titled “Living With Diabetes.” He discussed the various aspects of living with this disease, one which can be a silent killer, attacking blood vessels, resulting in heart disease and peripheral vascular disease, impotence and blindness.

On Nov. 6, a class on holiday cooking and physical activity for the diabetic was held by fitness specialist Cathy Sherman and registered dietitian Donna Sibley, who demonstrated how to stay active and the correct ways to prepare meals which both look and taste great and keep you feeling good. Proper diet and exercise are keys to both preventing and living with diabetes. For those who are already diagnosed with diabetes, a comprehensive diabetes education class is being held Nov. 14. A physician referral is required.

By now you’re getting the picture of the center’s emphasis on prevention. And in spite of your best efforts, sometimes you do get sick. No, One Nineteen isn’t simply another spa. Although I do believe a massage might improve circulation and boost immunity, if you need a health reason in order to get pampered, pop into the lab and get your blood sugar checked.