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CONCORD — Emerson Hospital will offer diabetes support group meetings at 10 a.m. on the following Fridays: Jan. 19, Feb. 16, March 16, April 27 and May 18. Meetings take place in the John Cuming Building in the education classroom on the first floor.

“This is an informal, relaxed group,” said Cheryl Laundry, RN, BSN, CDE, diabetes educator at Emerson Hospital. “Patients discuss strategies that work for them and look for suggestions from other patients who have diabetes.”

All support group topics are diabetes-related issues that concern patients. Recent topics have included coping with holiday stress, healthy party planning and dealing with long-term complications of diabetes.

The prevalence of diabetes in the United States is staggering. Diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death in America, and 20.8 million Americans have diabetes, although 6.2 million of those are undiagnosed according to the Web site of the American Association of Diabetes Educators. Each day, approximately 2,200 people are diagnosed with diabetes. The diabetes support groups are part of Emerson Hospital’s certified diabetes education program, which is almost always covered by health insurance and serves an important role by helping people learn more about their disease and what they can do to manage diabetes and its complications. Through the program, patients learn how to take responsibility for their own day-to-day care and are taught how to monitor blood glucose levels. Patients can also explore options for using an insulin pump and learn how to manage diabetes during pregnancy.

For more information on Emerson’s diabetes support groups, call Cheryl Laundry at (978) 287-3054.

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