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Published on October 31, 2014

Diabetes Diagnosis gives Frankfort Man a ‘Wake-up Call’

Diabetes Program at Palos Committed to Education,
Awareness and Self-Management for People with Diabetes


Learn more about the Diabetes Program at Palos Community Hospital.

Diabetes Fair: Get Moving, Get Control

Palos Community Hospital is sponsoring our annual Diabetes Fair, Get Moving, Get Control, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 7, at Palos Community Hospital, 12251 S. 80th Ave, Palos Heights. Check-in is at 8 a.m. This free event is for people with diabetes and their family members. Registration is required; call (708) 226-2330.

A few months ago, Mark Hoops lost his younger brother to kidney cancer. Depressed, he turned to food to help him deal with it.

“I was doing a lot of emotional eating late at night. It was my way of coping,” he says. “I got super heavy. I wasn’t exercising. My body just quit.”

Mark, 51, of Frankfort, concealed how he was feeling for four or five months because he didn’t want to worry his family, who had already been through so much. But he felt tingling in his arms and feet and was out of breath when walking up stairs. He knew he needed to seek help.

He made an appointment with Richard DeJong, M.D., his family physician with Palos Medical Group. He was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 90 to 95 percent of all people with the disease.

Mark’s diabetes was in the early stages, and he immediately began taking medication to help control his blood glucose levels. “That’s when I started getting serious about taking ownership of my diabetes,” he says. “Just by changing what I eat and exercising, it has made seismic shifts in the way I control my diabetes and manage my life.”

A registered dietitian from Palos Community Hospital’s Nutrition Counseling and Diabetes Program Services talked with Mark about monitoring his blood glucose, helped him adjust his diet and provided motivation for necessary lifestyle changes.

“Our goal is to equip patients with the knowledge, skills and tools they need to successfully manage their diabetes and delay or prevent many of the complications associated with the disease,” says Lela Iliopoulos, a registered dietitian who serves as dietitian supervisor for the Diabetes Program Services at Palos.

Mark says the one-on-one time with the registered dietitian was “phenomenal.” They talked through strategies, goals, what to eat and how to count the values of the foods he eats. “I walked out with marching orders, and I’ve followed them every day since.”

With diet and exercise, Mark lost nearly 70 pounds, averaging about 1-1/2 pounds a week. His ultimate goal is to lose about 20 more pounds, which would put him at the weight he was when he got married.

 Mark doesn’t see having diabetes as a detriment. “It caused me to wake up,” he says. “I actually consider my diagnosis to be something that helped me get back in control of my life.”