Diabetes is a chronic, life-threatening disease and one the nation's largest health concerns, but health professionals say it can be managed with proper diet and care.

Beginning on Tuesday, “Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes,” an educational series relating to diabetes care and self-management, will be offered through a partnership between UT Health East Texas in Athens and Carolyn Tyler of the Henderson County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

“I am looking forward to partnering with the team of healthcare professionals at UT Health-East Texas Athens,” Tyler said. “Participants will learn how to manage their diabetes in a small class setting, from experts in the field.”

Tyler, County Extension agent for family and community health, will provide recipe demos and tastings of diabetes-friendly recipes.

“And for a fun twist on the series, we will be doing live cooking demonstrations and tastings as part of the class,” Tyler said. “Participants will leave with recipes and tips to make their meals more diabetes friendly.

Installments of the five-week series were developed by the Texas A&M Extension Service Food and Nutrition Unit. It's designed to help people with Type 2 diabetes learn how to manage their blood glucose through basic nutrition and self-care management.

The series will provide valuable information for any Type 2 diabetic who attends, whether they've had it for many years or been recently diagnosed.

Classes will be presented from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., each Tuesday through April 20, at UT Health-Athens at 2000 S. Palestine St. Each class session is at the Bush Board Room.

According to the American Diabetes Association, the disease places a heavy financial burden on Texans. The cost of dealing with diabetes-related problems is about $23.7 million a year. Complications include stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, eye damage and nerve damage.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls Type 2 diabetes a chronic disease. While not curable, it is manageable. About 2.8 million Texans are diagnosed with the disease.

CDC projects that one in three adults could have diabetes by 2050 if trends continue.

For more or to register for the Athens classes, call 903-675-6130. The fee is $20 and registration is on a first-come first-serve basis. Space is limited.