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Extension office offers free class on diabetes

The Dallas County Extension office is offering the public free diabetes education classes for those recently diagnosed with diabetes and prediabetes as well as caregivers and family members.

“This is an educational effort to inform people on how to best control blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels,” said Callie Nelson, extension coordinator. “We also want to encourage better nutrition and exercise and we want to encourage lifestyle changes that will lead to the reduction in the number of diabetes complications.”

Nelson said Christina LeVert, regional extension agent and a registered dietician will be speaking at the classes to better inform attendees about the nutrition side of the disease.

“She’s going to be able to talk a lot more in depth with her information as far as the nutrition aspects of what’s going on with a person living with diabetes,” Nelson said. “It’s just wonderful to have her.”

The classes will offer all together around eight hours of diabetes self-management training to help the patients and the caregivers.

“People have told me that when they’re diagnosed, they’re just lost. The don’t know what to do,” Nelson said.

“They don’t know what to eat, what not to eat, should they exercise, about the medications, so this class will give them a really good opportunity to get some foundational information to be able to make some changes that will let them live a long healthy life, even though they’ve been diagnosed with diabetes.”

Dallas County is no stranger to diabetes. According to HealthGrove, six of the top 10 counties with the highest diabetes population in the United States are in Alabama. Dallas County just made it outside that list at number 11 with 21 percent of people in the county living with diabetes. And even with such high numbers, Nelson said it’s still hard for many people to get the education they need after their diagnoses.

“People who are diagnosed with diabetes or may be diagnosed with prediabetes, they often have to travel out of the county to go and get their classes to learn about the disease,” Nelson said. “There is a huge need for diabetes education in Dallas County.”

Through the classes, Nelson is hoping that people can develop a better understanding of diabetes, but also create a support network in the process.

“We want people to be able to develop a support network, so other people in the class can become a support group for each other,” Nelson said. “We also want to help empower people on being able to establish a really good working relationship with their primary care provider.”

The classes will be held at the Selma-Dallas County Public Library every Tuesday at 10 a.m. beginning March 21. Nelson said the classes will last between one and one and a half hours each session.

To register or for more information, contact the Dallas County Extension office at (334) 875-3200 or (334) 292-1559.