PARAGOULD, AR -- There are over twenty million Americans who have been diagnosed with diabetes. It's an illness that is getting more and more prevalent.
"Everyone knows someone who is a diabetic," said Debbie Brehmer.
It's been almost three months Joan Woodridge was diagnosed with type two diabetes and she says the discovery came as a complete shock.
"The first week I cried, the second week I was really mad and the third week, after I had come into the Educational Department at Arkansas Methodist Medical Center and talked to Pat Malone I decided I would take control," said Joan Wooldridge.
Registered nurse, and diabetes educator Pat Malone has helped patients like Wooldridge.
"Knowing about diabetes and knowing that you have diabetes is our first tool in the arsenal of keeping you healthy," said Malone.
Things you can do to help prevent diabetes include changing your lifestyle, which includes eating healthy and exercise. A free diabetes education class is being held on Thursday November 15th starting at 6:00 p.m. at Arkansas Methodist Medical Center that will help educate diabetes patients and anyone who wants more information about the illness.
"The participants that come will be taught to count carbohydrates, they will be taught food grouping and how to read labels," said Malone.
As for Wooldridge, she didn't have a family history or any symptoms, but said she wishes she had have gotten tested earlier.
"You need to have your sugar screened. I think that if I had found out a little bit sooner, I probably could have controlled it without the medicine," said Wooldridge.
To help diabetes patients a step farther, AMMC will open a diabetic clinic starting next year.
The free diabetes education class will be held at Arkansas Methodist Medical Center on Thursday from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.