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CKMC offers meal-planning tips for people with diabetes
new slt diabetes program
Toni Ahlgrim, left, and Gloria Siefkes, R.N., prepare for a free evening diabetes class about meal planning at Central Kansas Medical Center. Ahlgrim is a registered and licensed dietician at CKMC and Siefkes is the hospitals diabetes educator. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO




When a family member has diabetes, meal planning can be a challenge. After all, diet is a crucial factor in controlling the disease.

Since Gloria Siefkes, Central Kansas Medical Center R.N. and diabetes educator, understands this situation, another free evening diabetes class has been scheduled. There will be special emphasis on planning menus.

The event is set for 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 17 in Room 450 at CKMC. Toni Ahlgrim, CKMC registered and licensed dietician, will lead the class.

Those interested in attending should pre-register by calling Siefkes, 620-786-6457.

"Our first evening meal-planning class was a hit last November," Siefkes said. "We had good feedback and wanted to share the information again.

"Toni will discuss how to plan meals and count carbohydrates," Siefkes added. "Families affected by diabetes must consider these factors because it is so important to eat right and maintain a healthy lifestyle."

Siefkes also wanted to remind the community that CKMC regularly offers free diabetes classes during the day. Since the schedule can vary, Siefkes recommends that those interested call her about upcoming sessions.

One class focuses on adjusting to diabetes; using a meter and log book; obtaining supplies; taking medications; caring for feet, skin and teeth; preventing and treating complications; and treating hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.

Another day session is about meal planning and carb counting. All classes are free of charge.

The death rate from diabetes continues to climb, Siefkes noted. Since 1987, it has increased by 45 percent, while death rates due to cancer, heart disease and stroke have declined.

Up to 70 percent of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nerve damage, and the rate of amputation for diabetics is 10 times higher than for people without the disease. Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults and it is the leading cause of kidney failure.

"These are just some of the reasons we want to educate families about diabetes," Siefkes said. "Diet and lifestyle choices can work wonders in helping to control its effects."