Tim Underwood keeps diabetes in check

Tim Underwood

Tim Underwood

Tim Underwood is no stranger in Lewis County.

Tim is the pastor at Quincy’s Faith Baptist Church and has served as Lewis County Jailer. He’s hunted coon and worked with mules.

Tim is also diabetic and has completed diabetes self-management training offered through the Lewis County Health Department.

“I’d actually went to the doctor for bronchitis,” Underwood said. “The doctor asked me if there was anything else going on with my health and I told him some of my other symptoms.”

Underwood said the symptoms he mentioned to his doctor, vision and kidney issues, are classic symptoms of diabetes.

Diabetes is a disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose in the blood and urine.

When the doctor checked Underwood’s sugar level with a simple blood test, his plasma glucose result was more than 300 mg/dl. The normal range for adults is about 80 to 160 mg/dl.

Underwood said the doctor immediately prescribed medication for treatment of diabetes and some of the members of his congregation at Faith Baptist Church, on learning of the diagnosis, recommended the diabetes self-management class offered at the Lewis County Health Department.

He enrolled in the class and joined others in the community to learn about the disease and how to effectively manage it.

“I learned, through the diabetes self-management class, proper nutrition and, more importantly, how to count carbs,” Underwood said.

Carbohydrate (carb) counting can help control blood glucose, also called blood sugar, levels because carbohydrates affect your blood glucose more than other nutrients.

“It has amazed me that, even after years, people who have diabetes don’t know the importance of reading (food product) labels and knowing the importance of counting carbs and what kinds of carbs are better for you than others,” he said.

The body turns carbohydrates into glucose and eating carbohydrates makes blood sugar levels rise.

“Through medication, through prayers of God’s people, and through the diabetes class, I’ve been able to manage my diabetes and keep it under control,” he said.

“The diabetes self-management class at the health department was very informative and I feel like it has given me a new lease on life,” Underwood said. “I feel better now than I have for more than 20 years.”

“My A1C went of 7.6 down to 5.6 and I’ve lost over 100 pounds,” he said. “I’m on no blood pressure pills, I was on two blood pressure pills. I have energy and vitality like I have not had in 20 years.”

The A1C test is a common blood test used to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes and then to gauge how well you’re managing your diabetes.

If you are diabetic, it’s important to talk to your doctor about what your individual A1C goal should be.

Underwood said types of exercise and how much you should exercise are discussed in the self-management class.

“I would recommend this class to anybody for education, support and encouragement,” Underwood said, adding he has now taken the class twice.

“The class is good for anyone who has diabetes or anyone who wants to help someone who has diabetes,” Underwood said.

Lewis County Health Director Anita Bertram says Diabetes is a serious public health concern in the United States affecting 29.1 million people, with one out of four unaware they have diabetes.

In addition to the 29.1 million with diabetes in the US, another 86 million people are estimated to have pre-diabetes, a condition putting people at increased risk for the disease.

Prediabetes, having a blood sugar higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes, increases the chance of developing diabetes, heart disease or stroke.

Bertram urges adults to get screened for diabetes and to take control of their lives, health and diabetes through prevention and self-management classes available for free at the Lewis County Health Department.

Class topics include diabetes basics, health eating, proper carbohydrate counting, blood sugar monitoring and medication therapy.

For information about the classes, contact Anita Bertram or Katie Brannon, RN, LDF at 606-796-2632.

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