Facing the diabetes threat

First Posted: 11/5/2011

ealth care providers say that education is the key to managing and preventing diabetes, a life-threatening disease. Prevention of diabetes may be more likely with the detection of pre-diabetes, a condition marked by higher than normal glucose levels that affects more than 79 million people throughout the United States.

According to the American Diabetes Association, studies have shown that people with pre-diabetes can prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes by up to 58 percent through changes to their lifestyle that include modest weight loss and regular exercise.

On Nov. 14, World Diabetes Day will be observed to raise awareness of this serious disease and prevention programs. The Diabetes Community Center, an affiliate of Southeastern Regional Medical Center which is located at 4300 Fayetteville Road, will be lit with blue lights Friday through Nov. 14 as blue is the designated color for World Diabetes Day.

How can I prevent diabetes?

The ADA suggests a loss of just 10 to 15 pounds can make a huge difference. If you have pre-diabetes, you are at a 50 percent increased risk for heart disease or stroke, so your doctor may wish to treat or counsel you about cardiovascular risk factors, such as tobacco use, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol (http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/prevention/pre-diabetes/pre-diabetes-faqs.html).

The Diabetes Community Center has recently been awarded a grant which has enabled it to increase the resources available to educate individuals throughout the region about diabetes management and prevention.

“We have obtained a Duke Endowment grant to train two new diabetes educators to prepare for the growing need for diabetes self-care education,” said Mary Black, the director of the center. “We have also partnered with the Native American Interfaith Ministries, Inc./The Healing Lodge to acquire funding from a grant awarded to them by the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust to train additional staff.”

The Healing Lodge is training an outreach worker and the Diabetes Community Center is training an additional diabetes educator. Together, the partnering agencies will focus on community awareness, detection, education and management of diabetes and pre-diabetes for the next three years.

Other examples of Southeastern’s expanding diabetes education program include consultation appointments at medical clinics in Robeson, Bladen and Hoke counties as well as plans for a new diabetes education center at Southeastern’s Health Mall at Biggs Park Mall in Lumberton.

Two screenings

Southeastern’s Community Health Services department, the Sigma Iota Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and the Fairmont Recreation Department are hosting free health screenings, including for diabetes, on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Fairmont/South Robeson Heritage Center a 207 S. Main St. Fairmont. Checks for blood pressure, blood sugar, height, weight, and body mass index will be offered to adults 18 years and older.

A free hemoglobin A1c test, the newest finger stick blood test used to diagnose diabetes and pre-diabetes, will be offered at Southeastern’s Community Health Education Center within Biggs Park Mall on Nov. 14 from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. Test results are available within six minutes. Diabetes nurse educators will be available to provide additional information and answer questions.

For more information about both screening opportunities, call (910) 671-5595. To enroll in a diabetes education program or for more information about the Diabetes Community Center’s nationally recognized outpatient diabetes self-care training program, call (910) 618-0655.

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