Given that the American Diabetes Association recognizes November as American Diabetes Month, we thought it would be the perfect time to catch up with Hancock Health’s Dr. Kerri Kissell, medical director for endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism at the Hancock Endocrinology office in Greenfield.
Regular readers may remember Dr. Kissell from our introductory post in February. In just her first year on the job at Hancock Health, Dr. Kissell has spearheaded the launch of a focused diabetes program aimed at providing high-quality diabetes care to patients across the Hancock Health system.
“The diabetes program is now a comprehensive program caring for patients with diabetes,” she said. “Regardless of Type I, Type II, or gestational diabetes during pregnancy, we are now in a position to take care of the entire patient.”
Prior to the launch of the program, diabetes care was the responsibility of the individual primary care physicians. The new program places those patients under a larger, more focused umbrella.
In her short time with Hancock Health, Dr. Kissell has been impressed with both Hancock Health and the community we serve. “We have fantastic physicians and providers across the board,” she said. “We have fantastic nursing staff. We have wonderful office staff. It’s just a very collegial community. It’s very family oriented as well, which I very much appreciate.”
Because of the way diabetes affects so many parts of the body, Dr. Kissell said it’s a particularly life-altering disease. “Diabetes affects other organ systems,” she said, “from the eyes to all the nerves of the body, to the bones, the kidneys, the heart, the brain—there’s not a single other organ system that’s not involved. So the management of it and following recommendations is extremely important.”
The wide range of systems affected by diabetes also puts patients at a risk of more serious complications related to COVID-19. “Beyond the involvement of every other organ system, it’s hypoglycemia that makes you more vulnerable to COVID-19, and really all viruses, bacteria, and complications associated with that,” Dr. Kissell said.
Given her expertise, Dr. Kissell has been pulled into caring for many COVID-19 patients during the surge in cases across Indiana in recent weeks. “The severity of COVID complications related to uncontrolled hypoglycemia is greater,” Dr. Kissell explained. “So, the management of hypoglycemia becomes important.”
As far as steps you can take to be supportive of a loved one suffering from diabetes, Dr. Kissell had some simple advice: “The average person can encourage their loved ones with diabetes to take it seriously,” she said. “Encourage them to follow the recommendations of their physician, to be vigilant about glycemic monitoring in the home, to follow a healthy lifestyle, and to be supportive of their loved ones afflicted with this condition.”
Do you or a loved one suffer from diabetes? Learn more about the way Dr. Kissell and her team are making health possible at Hancock Endocrinology. Reach Dr. Kissell by calling 317.477.6363.