Free Diabetes Mini Health Fair Nov. 20
At St. John's Lutheran Hospital
by St. John's Lutheran Hospital
November 5, 2008
November is National Diabetes Month. The American Diabetes Association's (ADA) American Diabetes Month brings to light the fastest growing health care crisis of the 21st century: diabetes.
Do you know your risk for diabetes? You can take a risk test by going to St. Johnís website at www.sjlh.com. Go to the main menu, click Wellness/Health, and then Diabetes Services. Once you are on the Diabetes Services page, just click on "Risk Test for Diabetes", and follow the instructions.
This year, St. Johnís is doing something different in celebration of National Diabetes Month. The Diabetes Educators at the hospital are offering a Free Diabetes Mini Health Fair: Diabetes Health Check and Awareness Day. On Thursday, November 20th, you can visit booths for foot checks, BMI, blood pressure checks, drawings for health screenings, and receive free meters.
For those of you who are concerned about, but not diagnosed with Diabetes, free blood glucose checks will be offered, as well as a chance to visit with Certified Diabetes Educators. This activity is scheduled at the SJLH Conference Center, 402 East Third Street (next to Libby Care Center), from 2-5 pm. Flu shots and A1C, or microalbumin, will also be available for $20. These tests can be billed to insurance or Medicare.
There are "many faces of diabetes in Lincoln County". Locally, there are hundreds of people with diabetes; most are adults, but there are children as young as six years old who must take multiple injections of insulin, as well as check their blood sugars several times a day. Now, we are seeing children as young as 12 years old diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a disease formerly found mainly in older adults.
"We are seeing an increased number of cases of diabetes each year," commented Becky Brundin, MPH, RD, CDE, and manager of the Diabetes Program at St. Johnís. "What is most alarming, is that we know that people are suffering with this disease, and we canít seem to get to them to help them manage it. We offer so much in the way of support and education. We even offer free diabetes supplies; we just need to get the word out that we are here to help. Hopefully, our free mini Diabetes Health fair will encourage those with diabetes to let us help them manage their disease, and open some doors for people who have not been diagnosed, but are seeking information and support."
Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches, and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as, obesity and lack of exercise play a part.
Type 1 diabetes results from the body's failure to produce insulin, the hormone that "unlocks" the cells of the body, allowing glucose to enter and fuel them. It is estimated that 5-10% of Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have Type 1 diabetes. Symptoms of Type 1 include frequent urination, excessive thirst, extreme hunger, unusual weight loss, increased fatigue, irritability, and blurry vision.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. In Type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Unfortunately, most people who are diagnosed with Type 2 may not have any symptoms at all. Diabetes often goes undiagnosed because many of its symptoms seem so harmless.
According to Brundin, diabetes, if not managed properly, can lead to serious complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney damage, and lower-limb amputations. "Diabetes is a serious disease and needs to be managed every day. The early detection and subsequent treatment of the disease can decrease a personís chance of developing life-threatening complications. What we have found to be the most effective is a combination of clinical treatments and lifestyle changes. This disease is manageable, and people can lead long healthy livesÖit just takes some change and dedication to a management program."
For more information about the Diabetes Program and Support Group at St. Johnís Lutheran Hospital, please call Beck Brundin or Joan Bush at 406-293-0175.