Diabetics Can Reduce Risk Of Heart Disease

February is American Heart Month. For people with diabetes, it is particularly important to take care of their heart because having diabetes means they are two times more likely to have a heart attack or a stroke. The good news is that people with diabetes can take steps to lower their chances of developing heart disease and other heart problems. Managing the ABCs of diabetes will help to reduce their risk.

*A for the A1C test. The A1C test shows what your blood sugar (glucose) has been over the last three months. High blood sugar levels can harm the heart and blood vessels, kidneys, feet, and eyes.

*B for blood pressure. High blood pressure makes the heart work too hard. It can cause heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease.

*C for cholesterol. One kind of cholesterol, called LDL, can build up and clog blood vessels. It can cause heart attack or stroke.

The National Institute on Health’s National Diabetes Education Program also recommends following these tips to help to reduce the risk of heart disease:

*Maintain a healthy weight and stay active. Exercise is a very important aspect of diabetes management and heart disease prevention. Be active for 30 minutes or more each day. It’s okay to be active for 10 minutes at a time, 3 times a day.

*Make healthy food choices. Eat foods that are high in fiber and with heart-healthy fats. Eat foods low in saturated and trans fats. Limit desserts such as cookies and ice cream to only 1 or 2 times a week. Do not add salt to food.

*Stop smoking. Ask for help or call 1-800-784-8669 (1-800-QUIT-NOW).

If you are interested in learning more about managing type II diabetes, then enroll in Penn State Extension’s Dining with Diabetes Program. Classes will provide nutrition education, daily meal plans, interactive cooking demonstrations, food sampling and an opportunity to connect with others who are living with type II diabetes.

Two, four-week programs will be held – one on Mondays beginning March 9, from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. with a follow-up class on June 1 at the North Pocono Senior Center, 12 John J. Michaels Drive, Covington Township; and one on Fridays beginning April 10 from 10 a.m. – noon with a follow-up class on July 10 at the South Side Senior Center, 425 Alder Street, Scranton.

The cost of the program is $40 per person or $55 for two family members living in the same household. Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries receive free registration and scholarships are available.

For questions or to register, please call Penn State Extension in Lackawanna County at 570-963-6842, email, or visit and click on Lackawanna County.

Master Gardener Training

Penn State Cooperative Extension in Lackawanna County will be offering the Master Gardener Training Program for the spring. This program involves extensive training in the major aspects of home horticulture. In addition, candidates will commit to fifty hours of volunteer time, including staffing the garden helpline. The training will be held Tuesday and Thursday nights beginning March 3.

For more information or an application, please call 570-963-6842 or email:

Strengthening Families Program Helps Kids Succeed

Are you a parent or caregiver of a fifth or sixth grader? Would you like to learn some additional skills to help your child succeed? If so, then register for the free Strengthening Families program.

The Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth is a seven-week initiative designed to reduce adolescent substance abuse and other problematic behaviors in youngsters 10 – 14 years old. It has been scientifically tested and results have shown that children who have completed the program are less likely to become involved in risky behaviors like drug and alcohol abuse.

Parents and children begin each Strengthening Families session with a shared meal followed by break out sessions for adults and youth. During the last hour, families reunite to increase family bonding, positive communication skills and learn to solve problems together.

Two sessions will be held in Carbondale. The Carbondale sessions will be held from 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. on Sundays starting on February 8 or on Mondays beginning on February 2 at the Carbondale Area Elementary School.

Youth will benefit from attending the sessions by learning to: prepare for their teen years, communicate with their parents, deal with stress and peer pressure, and avoid alcohol and drug problems.  Parents and caregivers can enhance their parenting skills by: learning to set limits and show love, making house rules, encouraging good behavior, protecting their children from substance abuse, and learning to handle stress.

The free program includes dinner for the family, prizes for attendance and free child care for younger family members.

For more information or to register for this fun, family oriented program, call Karen Thomas at Penn State Extension in Lackawanna County at 570-963-6842.