Diabetes group looks for more awareness

Diabetes group looks for more awareness

CHAMPAIGN — Diabetes has been gaining on America, but a local coalition hopes more education and early detection will help reduce the ill effects of this disease in Champaign County.

The Champaign County Diabetes Coalition was launched a year ago and plans to hold a press conference at 10 a.m. Monday at Christie Clinic to raise awareness and discuss issues facing the diabetes community at large, said Diane Genthner, chairman of the coalition.

"What we know is it affects 11,000 of our community members in Champaign County," said Genthner, who is also regional director for clinical services at Provena Covenant Medical Center.

The coalition has been meeting regularly and focusing on educational resources and classes for the community, "knowing diabetes is the precursor of so many diseases," Genthner said.

People with diabetes are at increased risk for high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, hearing loss, eye problems, skin problems, kidney failure and nerve damage, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Early management of diabetes is an important focus, Genthner said. The longer diabetes symptoms remain untreated, the higher the risk a patient will wind up insulin-dependent, she said.

There are 25.8 million people in the U.S. (8.3 percent of the population) with diabetes, but it's estimated that 7 million of those people are still undiagnosed. If current trends continue, one out of every three adults in the U.S. will have diabetes by 2050, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The local coalition includes Christie Clinic, Provena Center for Healthy Aging, Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, East Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging, Family Service of Champaign County, Frances Nelson Health Center, SmileHealthy, University of Illinois Center for Health, Aging & Disability, and the UI Extension.

Some diabetes prevention and screening events for the public:

— Christie Clinic will hold a diabetes expo from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday at its 1801 W. Windsor Road clinic.

It will be held in the community education room, and include information and education from the Community Diabetes Coalition, pharmaceutical vendors and giveaways.

There will also be a written screening offered evaluating risk for diabetes based on weight, family history, exercise habits and other factors.

— Provena Covenant Medical Center will offer free diabetes screenings from 8 to 10 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday, in the main lobby of the hospital.

The screening will include a diabetes health risk assessment and blood sugar screenings.

For the most accurate results, fasting 12 hours prior to the screening is desirable but not required, hospital officials said. A dietician and registered nurse will be there to answer questions and provide information on diabetes and how to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

For more information on these screenings, call Cindy Magsamen at 337-3737.