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UIUC student encourages others to listen to your body, take action on diabetes

UIUC student encourages others to listen to your body, take action on diabetes
Listening to your body is the most important way to maintain your health, and it’s important to know when your body is changing.

For Will Hodge, a freshmen computer engineering student at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (UIUC), noticeable changes in his body caused him to stop and consider that something may be wrong.

“I remember coming to campus and realizing I was using the bathroom more often, was much thirstier than normal and that something was just off,” Hodge said. “By the time I went home for Thanksgiving, my mom said it wasn’t normal. I also had a friend diagnosed with Diabetes who had similar symptoms.”

When Hodge returned to campus, he made a visit to the McKinley Health Center where staff found that his blood glucose level was over 400, with a normal reading being less than 140.

It was then that he went to the Emergency Department (ED) at Carle Foundation Hospital (CFH) for treatment by the Carle Endocrinology and Diabetes Education team, which consists of endocrinologists, nurse practitioners, dietitians and diabetes nurse educators.

“When I got to the ED it was later in the day,” Hodge said. “I was very fortunate. Everyone was super helpful and you could tell that they care about what they do for patients. Being from Louisville, Kentucky, I was four hours from home and they were able to help comfort me and explain what was happening, what it was and what I could do to help reduce these risks from now on.”

This March 22 is Diabetes Alert Day, a one-day annual event to bring attention to the seriousness of diabetes and the importance of understanding your risk for the disease. With more than 30 million Americans affected by diabetes, the annual event acts as a timely reminder to give diabetes the attention it deserves.

Jean Land, RD, supervisor, Nutrition Services, is a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist helping patients feel equipped and informed to manage their diagnosis and maintain a safe, healthy lifestyle. She hopes that this day will be a reminder to all how important diabetes screening is if you have symptoms or risk factors for diabetes.

“It’s so crucial to understand your risk for diabetes and to know the signs and symptoms,” Land said. “If you notice something, make an appointment with your health care provider to be evaluated.”

Jean is one of many experts at Carle leading the way in education, support and treatment of diabetes in communities across central, eastern and southern Illinois. She encourages patients to find support with others experiencing diabetes and their care team when navigating a diabetes diagnosis.

While nearly 64,000 people are diagnosed each year in the U.S with Type 1 diabetes, roughly 90-95% of all diabetes diagnoses in the U.S. are Type 2 diabetes, a more common form that often develops over time as a result of diet and lifestyle.

Carle, a Recognized Program in Diabetes Education by the American Diabetes Association, provides Diabetes Education, both individually and in group classes. Virtual Diabetes Education Classes, which provide education and training on skills needed to manage diabetes, are also available.

They also have Diabetes Support Groups that meet virtually the third Tuesday of each month. These meetings feature a medical professional speaker who leads a discussion on a diabetes-related topic. The group provides a sense of community for those with diabetes. “These are free and open to the public,” Land said. “Having others to lean on for support can change the way you navigate diabetes.”

Those interested in virtual classes or a support group can call (217) 365-2853 for more information on classes or to register for a support group.

For Will, he stresses that taking action is the most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of a serious health event due to diabetes. He recently started using new diabetes treatment technologies such as an Omnipod® tubeless insulin pump so that he can continue being active and playing ultimate Frisbee® at the university.

“If you feel like something is wrong and you can’t figure out what it is, call your doctor,” Hodge said. “Taking care of your body is important. While there are things out of our control, when something is off you need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself.”

Find your risk for Type 2 diabetes by taking the American Diabetes Association's 60-second Risk Test.
Visit for more information on Carle’s team of diabetes experts.


Categories: Staying Healthy

Tags: Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana, Diabetes, endocrinology, Eureka, Hoopeston, nutrition, Olney