Dietitian and Diabetes Counselor for EAMC-Lanier Hospital speaks at Retirees Association

Published 8:20 pm Thursday, February 21, 2019

VALLEY — Brooke Lumpkin, dietitian and diabetes counselor for EAMC-Lanier Hospital, was the guest speaker at last Friday’s meeting of the Chambers County Education Retirees Association. She talked about diabetes in the U.S. and Chambers County, its health complications and the simple fact that many people who have it, or who are at high risk, don’t know it.

She said that more than 30 million Americans have it; an estimated 25 percent of them don’t know they have it.

Of more concern is the fact that close to 85 million Americans have what’s known as pre-diabetes. Nine out of ten of them don’t know it.

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“You can cut your risk of getting Type 2 diabetes in half by losing weight, eating healthy and being more active,” she said.

Type-2 diabetes is a long-term metabolic disorder characterized by high blood sugar, insulin resistance or a relative lack of insulin. Common symptoms include increased thirst, frequent urination and unexplained weight loss. Symptoms may also include increased hunger, feeling tired and having sores that are slow to heal.

Long-term complications from high blood sugar include heart disease, strokes and diabetic retinopathy, which can lead to blindness.

Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age, and there’s no known way to prevent it.

Nearly 18,000 youth are diagnosed with it every year.

Type 2 diabetes can develop at any age, and most cases can be prevented. Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include being overweight, having a family history of it, being older than 45 and not being physically active.

The risk of death for adults with diabetes is 50 percent higher than it is for adults who don’t have it. The estimated cost of diabetes for the U.S. is $245 billion. That reflects medical costs, lost work and wages for those diagnosed with it.

“13.2 percent of people in Alabama have diabetes,” Lumpkin said. “It’s 16.4 percent in Chambers County. That’s one out of every six people.”

Lumpkin urges people not to look at diabetes as a death sentence.

“Don’t despair,” she said. “There are lots of treatment options.”

Glycated hemoglobin, commonly known as A1C, can be measured over a three-month period to determine the average plasma glucose concentration and be used as a diagnostic test for diabetes and an assessment test for glycemic control for people with diabetes.

Generally, the lower the A1C the better.

Lumpkin said it’s important to know your numbers. The normal fasting glucose range is 99 or less mg/dL. When it’s between 100 and 125 mg/dL, it’s pre-diabetes, and it’s diabetes when it’s above 125.

“The national average for pre-diabetes is 33 percent,” Lumpkin said. “In Chambers County, we’re at 36 percent.”

She added that the best way to avoid diabetes is to eat right and exercise. A good rule of thumb is to make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. Recipes for such meals can be found at

Lumpkin said she was delighted to speak in front of a group that included so many familiar faces. She grew up in the local area and is a graduate of Valley High.

Her husband, Bryant Lumpkin, is an educator at Lanett High.