Diabetic clinics and shoes fill growing niche

Staff writer

Jeanne Rziha’s genetic history predisposes her to diabetes, but she has set her personal life goal on beating that prediction. She shares her diet and exercise experiences with others through Greenhaw Wellness Clinic diabetic workshops.

“My grandfather was diabetic and I have many other close relatives that are diabetic,” Rhiza said. “But I am determined not to become a diabetic. There are things you can do to prevent it.”

According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes affects 25.8 million people, accounting for 8.3 percent of the population. In Hillsboro, where Rziha has worked for 10 years as wellness coordinator at Greenhaw Wellness Clinic, many people have questions about the blood sugar disease.

“A lot of people just don’t even know what their blood sugar levels should even be,” Rziha said. “I get a lot of questions about that, as well as about what to eat, and how to combat problems associated with the disease. It really affects a lot of us.”

Starting this Thursday, Rziha will lead four diabetic instruction sessions at her 126 N. Main Street, Hillsboro office. Those interested can sign up by calling Greenhaw Pharmacy during business hours.

Rziha said the first session will deal with what diabetes is, how to test blood sugar, and what the proper levels of blood sugar should be. A second session the following Thursday will focus on diabetic food choices and healthy food combinations that work for diabetics. Nancy Pihl, Marion County Extension Agent, will lead the third session, sharing diabetic food recipes and medication alerts. The fourth session will hit on travel, foot care, and anything else participants want to know.

“I’ve led these workshops for many years now,” Rziha said. “At first we spend time on introductions, but by the fourth meeting it is just hard to get everyone to go home by the time it is over. There is so much to talk about.”

Rziha provides individual counseling services for those struggling with diabetes, but said she more enjoyed teaching group classes.

In addition to providing informational classes on diabetes, Rziha helps others fight complications of the disease by fitting and delivering diabetic shoes.

“I go to five nursing homes in the area to fit residents at their request,” she said. “Then two weeks later I can bring the shoes in and make sure they are comfortable. A lot of people that need the shoes really can’t get around well, so this program is really appreciated.”

Rziha said many people that do not have diabetes buy the specialized shoes offered at the pharmacy because they are more comfortable than other types.

“The diabetic shoes have a deeper toe box, so people like my husband who has hammer toes, can wear then comfortably,” she said. “They have a higher arch support too, and appeal to a lot of people.”

Diabetic classes take place in Hillsboro from 7 to 9 p.m. each Thursday through the month of May.

 

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