Understanding Diabetes

November is National Diabetes Month, a time when we want to bring attention to diabetes. This growing epidemic affects many in Malheur County. Our own Registered Dietician, Hallie Hopkins, selected the article below from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to raise awareness. Please read and reach out to someone who may be at risk of diabetes or would benefit from the information. Contact your primary care provider to find out how you can best prevent or manage diabetes.

A whopping 34.2 million Americans have diabetes. And, even more people are unaware that they are at high risk for developing prediabetes or progressing to Type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is often considered a transition step to Type 2 diabetes, but with important lifestyle changes Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed.

In all forms of diabetes, the body’s ability to make or properly use insulin is affected. Insulin is a hormone that is made by the pancreas, and it helps your cells store and use energy from food. If you have diabetes, glucose collects in the blood but doesn’t get transported into the cells. Thus, your body is not getting the energy it needs. Also, the high levels of glucose circulate through the body, damaging cells along the way.

Diabetes increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke and may lead to kidney, eye and nerve damage.

Types of Diabetes

The causes of diabetes are complex and still not fully known. Although food doesn’t cause diabetes, it is part of the strategy for managing the disease.

There are three main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 Diabetes: The pancreas either makes no or too little insulin. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease that often begins in childhood. The onset is sudden. Just 5.2% of adults with diabetes have Type 1. It cannot be prevented through diet or lifestyle, though they can be helpful in managing this condition.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: The pancreas does not make enough insulin or the body doesn’t use the insulin it makes. Type 2 usually develops slowly. Nearly 89% of individuals with this type of diabetes have a body mass index that is considered to be overweight or obese. Other risk factors include family history of diabetes, a history of gestational diabetes, impaired glucose metabolism, older age and physical inactivity.     
  • Gestational Diabetes: With gestational diabetes, the body doesn’t make enough insulin during pregnancy. It is thought that other hormones may block the action of insulin. Gestational diabetes often goes away after the baby is born. However, women who develop this type of diabetes are at greater risk for Type 2 diabetes later in life.

How to Reduce Your Risk for Diabetes

You can prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes by making changes to your eating style, being physically active and by losing a certain amount of weight if you have a body mass index (BMI) that is categorized as overweight or obese. These steps also lower your risk for diabetes complications. Visit a registered dietitian nutritionist to learn about lifestyle changes that can reduce your risk for Type 2 diabetes.

Signs, Symptoms and Testing

Signs and symptoms of diabetes include going to the bathroom frequently, being unusually thirsty, losing weight without trying, feeling tired or irritable, blurred vision, frequent illness or infection and poor circulation such as tingling or numbness in the feet or hands. If you have these symptoms, see a doctor immediately. You may need to have one of the following tests for diabetes:

  • Fasting Plasma Glucose: Indicates the amount of glucose in a sample of blood taken when a person is fasting (often they haven’t eaten anything for eight to 12 hours).
  • A1C Test: Measures a person’s average blood glucose range over the past two to three months. This test shows the amount of glucose that sticks to the red blood cell
  • Oral Glucose Tolerance Test: Results of this test show how the body uses glucose over time. This test is performed by a health care professional after an overnight fast. A blood sample is taken, the patient drinks a high-glucose beverage and then a blood sample may be taken every hour for up to three hours after drinking the beverage.

Managing Blood Glucose Levels

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, a registered dietitian nutritionist, or RDN, will work with you and other members of your healthcare team to help you manage your blood glucose levels and reduce your risk of possible complications. Some goals your care team may work with you on include:

  • Keeping blood glucose levels within a normal range. Or, as close to normal as possible, which can prevent or reduce complications.
  • Keeping blood pressure in normal ranges.
  • Working to get healthy cholesterol levels.

People with Type 1 diabetes need daily insulin injections or an insulin pump. People with Type 2 diabetes can help control blood sugar levels through food choices, physical activity and, for some people, a combination of medication and insulin injections.

General healthful eating tips to help manage diabetes include:

  • Limiting foods and drinks that are high in added sugars.
  • Selecting smaller portions, spread out over the day.
  • Making your carbs count by choosing whole grains, fruit and vegetables, which will help limit sources of refined carbohydrates.
  • Enjoying a variety of whole-grain foods, fruits, vegetables, lean sources of protein, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products every day.
  • Eating less saturated fat and focusing on healthy fat sources such as avocados, olive and canola oil, nuts and seeds.
  • Limiting your consumption of alcohol, if you choose to drink. Be sure to discuss with your health care provider.
  • Using less salt.

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, an RDN can create a simple eating plan for you. This plan will take into account your medications, lifestyle and any other health issues. The expert advice of an RDN can help you achieve your goals for managing your diabetes while ensuring you get the nutrients your body needs.

Contributor: Ester Ellis, MS, RDN, LDN

Invest in Yourself with Health is Wealth Program

The Malheur County Health Department (MCHD) has a new incentive program, Health is Wealth, to increase recommended surveillance testing, immunization, and awareness of public health services. People can walk in or call MCHD at 541-889-7279 to schedule time for testing, vaccine, and short informative sessions with staff. Participants will receive a Health is Wealth card that will keep track of their progress through 10 core programs. Upon completion, the first 100 participants will receive a $100 gift card.  

The goal is for people to experience public health as an important part of their healthcare, get to know staff, and connect the people in their lives to available services.

Eligibility: Health is Wealth program participants must be 18 years old or older. Participants must be present to receive services, complete paperwork, and present the completed card to MCHD front desk to receive gift card. The Health is Wealth card must be started by June 30, 2023. One hundred gift cards are available and once that supply is exhausted, there is no guarantee a gift card will be provided.

Requirements: Participants must receive a stamp for each of the 10 programs, from MCHD employees on the Health is Wealth card, within 12 months of the start date on card. Immunizations must be up to date, as verified in the Oregon or Idaho immunization registries. Participants must receive testing for HIV, syphilis, hepatitis C, chlamydia and gonorrhea, or have record of tests within the last 12 months. Participants must schedule and complete short educational sessions with each program to receive a stamp.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends all adults get tested for hepatitis C and that everyone should be tested for HIV at least once in their life, regardless of risk factors. With climbing rates of communicable disease, more testing is needed to identify infections, many of show no symptoms. Hepatitis C is a leading cause of liver cancer, however, with treatment, hepatitis C infection is curable. Early detection can save your life. Cases of HIV, syphilis, and gonorrhea are also going up in Malheur County. Testing can give people peace of mind and more information about their overall health.

Along with increased testing, the Health is Wealth program aims to get more adults up to date on recommended vaccines. Immunizations are not just for children. Protection from some childhood vaccines can wear off over time. You may also be at risk for vaccine-preventable disease due to your age, job, lifestyle, travel, or health conditions. All adults need immunizations to help them prevent getting and spreading serious diseases that could result in poor health, missed work, medical bills, and not being able to care for family.

Public health promotes the wellbeing of the entire population of Malheur County and helps to ensure access to safe and quality care. Public health is for everyone! Visit malheurhealth.org or call 541-889-7279 for more information.

It’s Time for Farmers’ Market

Join us this Tuesday and Wednesday, August 2nd and 3rd, for the WIC Farmers’ Market!

A local farm stand will have produce for sale to the public and for Farm Direct Nutrition Program recipients to spend their checks, including WIC Farm Direct and Senior Farm Direct participants.

Share the Farmers’ Market event on Facebook here. Download English and Spanish flyers here.

Spotlight on Malheur County WIC Program

About Us:

The Women, Infants, Children (WIC) Program is a public health nutrition program that serves low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, and children up to the age of five.

The vison of the Oregon WIC program is to ensure optimal nutrition and lifelong health for every Oregon family. We provide families with access to healthy foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding guidance, free health screenings and referrals to other health services.

To apply for services, just call us at (541) 889-7279!

We support families by offering:

  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding guidance
  • Nutritious foods
  • Nutrition-focused counseling
  • Free health screenings
  • Connections to resources

To be eligible, you must:

  • Live in Oregon.
  • Be a pregnant, postpartum or breastfeeding woman, an infant or a child under 5 years old.
  • Have a household income less than 185% of the federal poverty limit. (Individuals who can prove Fully eligible for Medicaid/Oregon Health Plan, TANF, SNAP/Food Stamps or FDPIR are automatically income eligible for WIC.)
  • Have a nutritional need or risk.

Income Eligibility Criteria (Effective May 2022):

More information on criteria here.

Farm Direct Nutrition Program:

Annually, we provide access to the Oregon Farm Direct Nutrition Program which is a state administered, federal nutrition program serving families enrolled in WIC and income-eligible seniors. Farm Direct participants receive additional benefits to spend on fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables from authorized farmers within our community.

Minimizing Barriers and Providing Equitable Care

  • We strive to maintain a welcoming and trauma-informed work environment that reflects and supports the racial and ethnic diversity of our participants, partners and community.
  • Provide nutritious foods to help minimize food insecurity for our most vulnerable and at-risk populations
  • Minimizes barriers to services by offering remote options when available
  • Use of Electronic Bank Transfer (eBT) cards for easier shopping and reduced stigma of services
  • Provide hand off referrals to other available services within the community
  • Services and materials are available in languages of our population served and ability to provide interpreted services and translated materials for non-English speaking families

Program Goals:

  • Increase number of families served in Malheur County.
  • Increase the number of infants exclusively breastfed for 6 months.
  • Maintain children on the program from infancy through age 5 to optimize health outcomes.
  • Provide families with education and resources to spend all their FDNP vouchers before the end of the annual WIC Farmers Market season.

Contact Us:

  • Phone: (541) 889-7279
  • Email: WIC@malheurco.org
  • Fax #: (541) 889-8468
  • Find our WIC staff on the Meet Our Team page.

Additional Resources:

Nov 4 & 18: WIC Walk-In Wellness Days

Please share! Great opportunity for WIC participants and any Oregon residents who are pregnant or have a child under age 5.

Join us at the Malheur County Health Department for a walk-in day to get you and your child/children up to date on their wellness screenings. We are offering free weight and height measurements, iron checks, flu shots, immunizations and more.

Please wear a mask, limit number of family members as possible and do not attend if you are sick. Interested in the WIC program? Call us at (541) 889-7279 to schedule your WIC appointment!

More information on WIC here.

WIC Farmers Market

Don’t miss the WIC Farmers Market August 11-12 outside the Health Department 1108 SW 4th Street in Ontario.

Get your WIC Farm Direct checks! If you are current on WIC, you may be eligible to receive $28 worth of WIC Farm Direct checks to use with local farmers at the Farmers Market or their farm stands.

Interested in WIC?

  • Do you live in Oregon?
  • Are you pregnant, postpartum, or breastfeeding woman or a child under 5 years old?
  • Are you receiving TANF, SNAP or the Oregon Health Plan or meet WIC income guidelines? Call Malheur County WIC at (541)889-7279 to make an appointment!

Create safe Thanksgiving meals!

The holidays are here, which means you’re probably getting ready to share meals and merriment with families and friends.

This can be a fantastic and yummy time of the year. But if you don’t take care while preparing all that delicious holiday food, you can put people at risk for food poisoning.

Anyone can get sick from food poisoning, but some folks are at higher risk. Kids under age 5, seniors and women who are pregnant are all more likely to get sick from food and have a serious illness.

Luckily, preventing food poisoning can be easy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture  has these tips to help home chefs create safe Thanksgiving meals:

• Wash your hands often while cooking. Use soap and water and scrub for at least 20 seconds. Dry your hands on a clean paper towel, not a dirty apron or towel.
• Prevent cross-contamination. Clean surfaces as you go, including sinks and counters. Use separate cutting boards and utensils for meat and other food. That way, you won’t end up with raw turkey juice in your salad. (Blech!)
• Cook the turkey to 165 degrees. Use a food thermometer to check it’s done, and never rely on those cheap pop-up ones that come with the turkey.
• Follow the two-hour rule. If all your food hasn’t been gobbled up two hours after you’ve set it out on the table, it’s time to wrap it up and stick it in the fridge. Any leftovers that are perishable should be eaten or frozen within three to four days.

For more seasonal food prep tips, check out FoodSafety.gov

If you have questions while cooking your turkey, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline.
Have a happy, healthy holiday!

By USDA FoodSafety.gov

LGBTQIA+ Welcome

The Malheur County Health Department (MCHD) provides compassionate, high quality care for all people in Malheur County, including LGBTQIA+ individuals. We are proud to offer many services for the health and well-being of our community, including:

  • Rapid HIV testing, referral, and case coordination
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections testing and treatment
  • Communicable disease testing and case coordination, including tuberculosis and hepatitis
  • Wide range of birth control options
  • Immunizations, including HPV for all genders ages 9-26
  • Home Visiting programs for parents with children age 5 and under
  • Pregnancy testing and counseling
  • Tobacco prevention and education
  • Birth and death certificates, available within 6 months of event
  • WIC nutrition program for qualifying families with children age 5 and under

We are a community of all sexual orientations and gender identities and have a variety of health needs. MCHD serves all people regardless of ability to pay, with a few low-cost exceptions. No one will be denied services based on immigration status, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, nationality, or religious affiliation. MCHD also accepts Medicare, Medicaid, and most private health insurance. If you do not have insurance, we have staff who can help you sign up for the Oregon Health Plan or determine your eligibility for other assistance programs.

All services are confidential and open to all ages. Call 541-889-7279 to make an appointment. Walk ins welcome. Se habla Español.

Crisis Resources and Support

Resources for LGBT Youth and Friends/Supporters

Some LGBT youth are more likely than their heterosexual peers to experience negative health and life outcomes. It is important that at-risk LGBT youth have access to resources and support to deal with the questions and challenges they may face as they mature.

Resources for Educators and School Administrators

Because some LGBT youth are more likely than their heterosexual peers to experience bullying or other aggression in school, it is important that educators, counselors, and school administrators have access to resources and support to create a safe, healthy learning environment for all students.

Resources for Parents, Guardians, and Family Members

Some LGBT youth are more likely than their heterosexual peers to experience negative health and life outcomes, so it is critical for the parents, guardians, and other family members of LGBT youth to have access to the resources they need to ensure their LGBT children are protected and supported.

Resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) LGBT Youth Resources

A Framework for Increasing Equity Impact in Obesity Prevention

One of the most pressing unmet challenges for preventing and controlling epidemic obesity is ensuring that socially disadvantaged populations benefit from relevant public health interventions. Obesity levels are disproportionately high in ethnic minority, low-income, and other socially marginalized US population groups. Current policy, systems, and environmental change interventions target obesity promoting aspects of physical, economic, social, and information environments but do not necessarily account for inequities in environmental contexts and, therefore, may perpetuate disparities.

In THIS ARTICLE recently published in the American Journal of Public Health, Shiriki K. Kumanyika, PhD, MPHI, proposes a framework to guide practitioners and researchers in public health and other fields that contribute to obesity prevention in identifying ways to give greater priority to equity issues when undertaking policy, systems, and environmental change strategies. The core argument is that these approaches to improving options for healthy eating and physical activity should be linked to strategies that account for or directly address social determinants of health. Kumanyika provides research and practice examples of its use in the US context. The approach may also apply to other health problems and in countries where similar inequities are observed.

Source: Am J Public Health. Shiriki K. Kumanyika. Published online ahead of print August 15, 2019: e1–e8. doi:10. 2105/AJPH.2019.305221

WIC: Improving the Lifelong Health and Nutrition of Families

From the 2018 Malheur County WIC Report

Our vision at WIC is to ensure optimal nutrition and lifelong health for every Oregon family. Locally, we are here to protect and promote the health of families in Malheur County.

Find out more about how the WIC Program improves the health of families, communities, and economy by reading the 2018 Annual Malheur WIC Report.

Find out how WIC can help you and your family. If you are pregnant or have a child 5 years or younger, you may qualify for free nutrition counseling, breastfeeding support, and supplemental foods. Call the Malheur County Health Department’s WIC line directly at 541-889-7041.