healthy foods

National Diabetes Education Week: How Diabetes Develops Over Time and What You Can Do

As November unfolds, we at Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic are observing National Diabetes Education Week, which takes place from November 7th to 13th. This dedicated week serves as a crucial opportunity to raise awareness about diabetes and promote healthier lifestyles. In this blog, we will delve into the significance of National Diabetes Education Week and explore the development of diabetes over time and share valuable tips for maintaining a healthy diet.

healthy foods

The Importance of National Diabetes Education Week

Diabetes is a prevalent health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It’s a chronic disease that impacts the way your body processes glucose, the primary source of energy for your cells. National Diabetes Education Week aims to educate individuals, families, and communities about diabetes, its prevention, and management. Through awareness and education, we can empower individuals to make informed choices for a healthier future.

Understanding the Development of Diabetes Over Time

Diabetes doesn’t typically develop overnight; it’s a gradual process. Here’s a brief overview of how it evolves:

  1. Genetic Predisposition: Family history can influence your risk of developing diabetes. If close relatives have diabetes, you should be vigilant about your health.


  1. Lifestyle Factors: Sedentary living, poor dietary choices, and obesity can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.


  1. Pre-Diabetes: Before diabetes fully develops, many individuals experience pre-diabetes, characterized by higher-than-normal blood sugar levels. This is a critical point for intervention through diet and exercise.


  1. Diabetes Diagnosis: If blood sugar levels remain consistently high, you may receive a diabetes diagnosis. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form, often associated with lifestyle factors.

Tips for a Healthier Diet

A crucial aspect of preventing and managing diabetes is maintaining a balanced and healthy diet. Here are some tips to help you make smarter food choices:


  1. Embrace a Variety of Foods: A diverse diet ensures you receive a wide range of nutrients. Incorporate lots of non-starchy vegetables, along with fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats into your meals. Eat fish at least 2 times per week and use non-fat or low-fat dairy products.


  1. Monitor Carbohydrate Intake: Carbohydrates have a significant impact on blood sugar levels. Be mindful of portion sizes and choose complex carbohydrates like whole grains and legumes.


  1. Control Sugar Intake: Limit your consumption of sugary foods and beverages. Opt for sugar alternatives like stevia or agave nectar when needed. Skip the soft drinks and sweet tea as an easy way to remove a lot of excess sugar from your diet.


  1. Pay Attention to Portion Sizes: Overeating can lead to weight gain, which is a risk factor for diabetes. Use smaller plates to control your portions and avoid going back for seconds. You can use your hand as a portion guide: a loose fist is about 1 cup, your palm is about 3 ounces, and a thumb equals about 1 ounce or 1 tablespoon.


  1. Hydrate with Water: Choose water over sugary drinks and sodas. Staying hydrated is essential for overall health.

National Diabetes Education Week serves as a reminder of the importance of education and awareness in the fight against diabetes. By making informed dietary choices, understanding your Body Mass Index (BMI), and recognizing the gradual development of diabetes, you can take proactive steps toward a healthier future. At Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic, we’re committed to providing support and resources for those affected by diabetes and encouraging everyone to adopt healthier lifestyles. Join us in spreading awareness and promoting education during this special week and beyond. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of those living with diabetes and work toward a healthier world.

Navigating Medicare as a Health Worker

Navigating Medicare- a Day in the Life of a Community Health Worker


At Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic, we see people from all walks of life. They may be the person who waits on you at your local coffee shop, the person helping you at an amusement park, or the person who helps keep your yard mowed and bushes pruned. The need for services is also varied: The mother who is taking her child in for immunizations, a person with shortness of breath, and sometimes the patient has put off seeing a doctor for too long and has a variety of symptoms to work through. Life goes on, whether we have insurance or not.  These are the people we see each day at Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic.

In many cases, the first-time screening process can reveal not only an initial diagnosis, but clear gaps in what resources a patient might need to develop a healthier lifestyle.  In one case, a 64-year-old patient had come into the clinic for medical care and was unclear on what direction he needed to go, because he had just become eligible for insurance through his employer. They offered a health benefits insurance plan that he would qualify for, but within a brief time, he would also qualify for Medicare.

One of the Community Health Workers (CHW) here at Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic discussed the options with the patient, such as how much the employer plan might cost, both while he continued his employment, and how much it would cost to continue that plan, should he be unable to keep working due to health reasons. The patient also learned that there can be penalties associated with delayed enrollment of Medicare, and that they can go up the longer you wait to sign up. The information our Community Health Workers supplied helped clarify his choices, and once he had a better understanding of his options, he knew which plan would work best for him.

Sometimes, the Community Health Worker plays a vital role in aiding the patient in connecting the dots to other resources they may need. For example, if a patient is diagnosed with diabetes, a change in diet or medication may be needed, and that can create an unplanned expense that their budget cannot accommodate. Insulin and syringes are another such cost, and can often present a difficult choice, as a patient may have to decide between paying for medication or for their utility bill. In such cases, the CHW can connect them with resources to supply more nutritious foods, or medication assistance programs if costs are not within their budget.

In this case, our patient did opt to begin Medicare at age 65, and returned for his last visit, as he would continue care under this new plan, with a new provider. He stated he was fond of his provider at Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic, a sentiment echoed by many over the years, who found they could receive quality health care while being treated kindly and with dignity. We are always happy to see a positive outcome, knowing we are being led to provide these vital services to those that need them, through the spirit of compassion and giving.