This November, Thanksgiving isn’t the only event that we should have on our mind when gathering with our loved ones. It is also American Diabetes Month.

While we overindulged our favorite holiday dishes and desserts, over 15 percent of our Long Beach community members who are pre-diabetic or diabetic, aged 45 and over, may have been at risk of hospitalization from elevated blood glucose levels.

Based on data from the California Health Interview Survey, hospitalization rates in Long Beach were highest in the North (90805), West Central (90806, 90810), and Southwest (90802, 90804, 90813). When looking at race/ethnicity, Blacks or African Americans had the highest rates of hospitalizations (64.9 per 10,000), followed by Hispanics or Latinos (35.4 per 10,000), Asians (22.9 per 10,000), and Whites (17 per 10,000).

Strategies recommended by public health professionals to improve diabetes self-management include health education interventions within hospital and community settings as well as online resources, such as the Diabetes Forecast and CDC, which offers persons living with diabetes tips for effectively planning, shopping, cooking, and eating, especially during this upcoming holiday season.

Thankfully, there are several helpful community workshops taking place in Long Beach month, aimed at increasing knowledge and behavior in diabetic patients, improve self-care compliance, provide social support, and increase self-confidence in residents ability to live a happy and healthy lifestyle.

The Diabetes Clinic (Outpatient) – Community Hospital Long Beach offers a FREE ongoing three-week Diabetes 101 course focusing on topics such as nutrition, complications, stress, and fitness. Monthly glucose screening and diabetes support groups are also available.

Long Beach Memorial offers a Diabetes Self-Management Training Program, covered by most insurance plans, that covers areas such as explaining diabetes medication and management, learning how to monitor blood glucose, meal planning, fitness, and skills-building for achieving a healthier lifestyle. The program is offered in both English and Spanish language.

Saint Mary’s Medical Center offers an ongoing Diabetes Education Program that uses certified diabetes educators to work with patients in managing their diabetes. Individual sessions can be scheduled Wednesdays from 7:00AM to 5:00PM and Thursdays from 11:00AM to 5:00PM. Four-week group sessions are also offered.

Memorial Care also offers classes and support groups in the evenings, open to public, on selected topics such as “Adult Insulin-Pump Support Group”, “Diabetes Support Group for Adults,” and “Referente al Grupo de Apoyo Sobre la Diabetes para Adultos.”

Additional resources can be found on the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services Community Resources List.