A diabetes education program, offered virtually by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, will begin next in March, according to an announcement from the Lawrence County Extension Office. 

The Diabetes Empowerment Education Program (DEEP) will be offered in six 30-minute to hour-long sessions online, beginning March 24. 

"Let's have a DEEP conversation about managing your diabetes," Regional Agent Elaine Softly, who will lead the program, said.  

About 610,458 Alabamians live with diabetes, notes Softley. Every year, an estimated 31,000 state residents are diagnosed with diabetes. 

She added that diabetes and prediabetes cost an estimated $5.4 billion in Alabama each year, and serious complications from the conditions include heart disease, stroke, amputation, end-stage kidney disease, blindness and even death. 

Softley's series will cover topics: Understanding the Human Body, Understanding Risk Factors for Diabetes, Monitoring Your Body, Being Physically Active, Planning Meals, Identifying and Preventing Complications, Learning about Medications & Medical Care, and Living with Diabetes: Mobilizing Your Family and Friends.

Those interested in the program should register by visiting https://auburn.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEvf-qrqTkqHNOVOjEA0rFxZghqgE6Vpnqu. 

For those without access to reliable internet service, other program participation options may be available, according to Extension Coordinator Donna Shanklin.

"The program can be delivered face-to-face to established groups, such as a quilt group, church members, or book clubs, as long as they are following COVID-19 guidelines," Shanklin said. "Just give the office a call to see if Softley can fit you into her schedule. If you do not have access to the internet, we can offer the use of our facilities for a limited number of people following COVID-19 guidelines."

Online sessions will take place at noon on March 24, March 31, April 7, April 14, April 21 and April 28. 

Questions may be directed to Elaine Softley by calling 256-324-2851, or by emailing es0021@aces.edu. The Lawrence County Extension Office, located on Alabama 157 in Moulton, may be reached by calling 256-974-2464. 

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