The McDuffie County diabetic support group had a special speaker at their meeting, Thursday, Oct. 25 at the McDuffie Regional Medical Center. Approximately 16 people came to hear Dr. Weems Pennington, III, speak about how diabetes affects the heart.
"I've been a nurse for a long time, and I've learned some things here tonight, too," said Virginia Bradshaw, the director of the McDuffie County Health Department.
After discussing how patients with diabetes are at an increased risk for developing coronary problems, Dr. Pennington spoke on recommended tests, complications and available treatments, including stress test, catheterization, peripheral vascular disease, ultrasound, and medication.
"I want you to leave here today knowing how you need to be treated," he said. "I feel very strongly about this, I don't believe in waiting too long."
To prevent coronary problems, Dr. Pennington suggested exercise, a healthy diet, to stop smoking, aspirin treatment, control of blood pressure and cholesterol, regular screenings and taking prescribed ace inhibitors.
"I learned a lot," said Margie Bentley. "Things to check with my doctor about and to think about for the future."
Dr. Pennington said cardiologists take care of blockage in the legs even though it's not a heart problem. He said if a patient's diabetic doctor does not know the treatments, then a cardiologist will. Although their office is in Augusta, Dr. Pennington and his father see patients in Dr. Kelly Carter's office in Thomson every other week.
"I was impressed that he was willing to come talk to us after a long day at work," said Clois Witt. "He was dynamic, but he was not overwhelming. I liked how he was direct, and just told it like it is."
The next diabetic support group will be a cooking class on Thursday, Nov. 15. Mrs. Bradshaw said prior registration is required so they will know how much food to have available. To register, call the health department at 706-595-1740 or the County Extension office at 706-595-1815.