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Diabetics meet at VVMC for support battling condition
Written by Greg Ruland   
Monday, 14 March 2011 00:00

Close to 80 diabetics and their supporters attended a Feb. 28 meeting at Verde Valley Medical Center to learn how their illness impacts the way they metabolize food, according to VVMC Exercise Physiologist Jay Mariman. She is one of several VVMC health care professionals who helped organize the free meetings.

Health-conscious walkers including, from left, registered nurse Mary May, Corliss Mellas, Sherry Crosoli and Marjorie Paris hike around the track at Verde Valley Medical Center on March 2. The hospital’s diabetes education department is sponsoring  twice-weekly walks at the track on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The walking group is free and open to the public.The group, which boasts nearly 160 registered members, provides a supportive environment where all diabetics, their family and friends can share experiences, VVMC spokeswoman Starla Collins said.

“The education is very helpful,” said nurse Mary May, a certified diabetes educator who helped organize the group. “It not just sitting around a table. It’s a place where you can connect with someone who can encourage you to do what you need to do to be healthy.”

Group members share recipes and other information that allows them to continue to eat foods they enjoy, like the banana-nut muffin available from a Oregon baker who makes food specifically for diabetics, May said.

“About 90 percent of the time, you come out of there with some great amount of new knowledge,” said Chuck Crosoli, who attends group meetings to support his wife, Sherry, a Type 2 diabetic diagnosed three years ago. “You should give it a chance. Come in and see what it’s all about. Meet all the people. You’ll get some great information that will help you improve your health.”

Sherry Crosoli said she responded aggressively to her diagnosis, making major changes to her diet and the menu she serves her family. Thanks to the healthy food and an intense exercise regimen, Crosoli said she lost 50 pounds and has her condition under control.

“I’ve learned a lot in the last three years, but I’ve got a lot more to learn,” she said.

Crosoli and her husband are regular walkers. On Wednesdays at 4 p.m., they join a contingent from the support group who are walking to help control their illness. Some of the walkers are also preparing to participate in the Brian Mickelsen Memorial Run/Walk on Saturday,

April 16, May said.

VVMC hosts the walking group Wednesdays at 4 p.m. and Saturdays at 10 a.m. at the VVMC track. Mariman, May and Bridget Taddonio of Fit Kids of Arizona, monitor and advise the walkers. The walking group is free and open to the public.

Walking and other kinds of exercise play a key role in the way the body metabolizes blood sugar, Mariman said

In a sense, diabetes “thickens” the blood so it is not as efficient in carrying oxygen around the body. This increases the risk of heart disease, she said.

Increased blood sugar acts like a chain reaction, causing damage to a variety of organs, including the heart, kidneys and eyes. About 30 percent of Mariman’s patients who suffer cardiovascular disease also suffer from diabetes, she said.

Exercise increases the surface area where blood glucose, a substance that fuels muscles, can be absorbed into cell tissue. This has the affect of reducing overall blood sugar levels, she said.


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