Diabetes Alert Day to Raise Local Awareness of Disease
According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is on track to become the greatest public health crisis of the next 25 years. The problem is especially critical among minority populations.
If you have any doubts, take a look at these disturbing local statistics:
The rate of diabetes deaths among minority women in Moore County is more than four-and-a-half times that of white women even though whites comprise more than 78 percent of the county's population.
The rate of diabetes deaths among minority men is more than two times that of white men.
Combine this information with the fact that 22.3 percent of people in Moore County don't have any type of health insurance and that 12.1 percent live below the poverty level, and the prospect of a looming diabetes crisis becomes even more alarming.
In an effort to address the burden of diabetes and in recognition of the 21st annual American Diabetes Alert Day, FirstHealth of the Carolinas encourages Moore County residents to find out their risk for type 2 diabetes.
"Diabetes Alert Day is a way to get diabetes in front of the community," says Melissa Herman, coordinator of FirstHealth's Diabetes Self-Management Program.
American Diabetes Alert Day is held annually on the fourth Tuesday in March. This year, that's March 24, when local people who are overweight, physically inactive and over the age of 45 are encouraged to take the Diabetes Risk Test. Results of the test will show users whether they are at low, moderate or high risk for pre-diabetes or diabetes.
Having a family history is also a risk factor for diabetes; and African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are at an increased risk. So are women who have had babies weighing more than 9 pounds at birth.
Once known as "adult onset" diabetes, type 2 diabetes now occurs often in children because of its connection with overweight and obesity. Symptoms include frequent urination, blurred vision and excessive thirst, although most people who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes don't show these overt warning signs at the time they develop the disease.
In fact, type 2 diabetes often becomes evident only when people develop one or more of its complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye damage or nerve damage that can lead to amputation.
According to Herman, many people have diabetes and don't know it while others know they have the disease but don't have the resources or the knowledge to manage their condition successfully.
"Many don't have doctors or don't have the supplies to take care of themselves," she says.
Persons interested in determining their risk for type 2 diabetes can take the Diabetes Risk Test, which is available in English and Spanish by calling the American Diabetes Association toll-free at (800) 342-2383 or by visiting www.diabetes.org/alert.
In addition, FirstHealth Mobile Health Services will offer free sugar screenings from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 25, at the Trinity A.M.E. Zion Church on Pennsylvania Avenue in Southern Pines. The screenings will be provided by FirstHealth's FirstAccess project, which is supported by The Duke Endowment.
Anyone having non-urgent questions about diabetes can call the FirstHealth Diabetes Helpline toll-free at (800) 364-0449. The free service is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Information on Diabetes Alert Day or the FirstHealth Diabetes Self-Management Program can also be obtained by calling this number.
More like this story