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6th MDG sponsors fair, increases awareness of diabetes

by Airman 1st Class Jose Climaco
Thunderbolt staff writer
Photo by Airman 1st Class Jose Climaco

Airman Jason Ricard, 6th Medical Support Squadron laboratory technician carefully takes a blood sample at the diabetic fair held June 3 at the chapel. People had their samples were examined and given results there.

The 6th Medical Group sponsored the first annual Diabetic Fair June 3 at the base chapel. Hundreds of people attended the event in order to increase their knowledge about the disease, which affects about 18 million people in the United States.

People had the opportunity to have their blood tested and were counseled about their diabetes risks.

Diabetes disables the body's ability to use its main source of energy, which is glucose. Unhealthy levels of glucose build up in the bloodstreams of people who suffer from diabetes, because their bodies can't produce enough insulin or can't use it properly.

Diabetes is classified as either Type 1 or Type 2. With Type 1, the body doesn't produce insulin. With Type 2, the body fails to use insulin properly. About 90 to 95 percent of people who suffer from diabetes have type 2 while five to10 percent have Type 1. Type 2 is linked to obesity, inactivity, age and complication of pregnancy.

Common symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, excessive thirst and sudden weight loss. Diabetes can be diagnosed with a blood test to measure levels of sugar in the blood.

Type 2 Diabetes can be managed and controlled with lifestyle modifications such as exercise, diet, medication, insulin or a combination of the three. Type 1 Diabetes can be managed and controlled with insulin treatment.

Capt. Margaret Leavitt, 6th Medical Group health care integrator, coordinated the event. "We hope to educate our patients and have a little fun at the same time," said Captain Leavitt.

Some of the major factors diabetics need to be aware of are the levels of sugar in their blood and their eyesight. A high level of sugar is what causes diabetes.

People who have, or are at risk of, diabetes should have annual eye exams because the disease often causes blurry vision, said Captain Leavitt.

Personnel from nutritional medicine, optometry, physical therapy and the Health And Wellness Center were available to council people about the various ways diabetes affect people.

"Our goal is to keep people motivated to take care of themselves and stay healthy," said Maj. Lora Pietszak, 6th Medical Group, nutritional medicine flight commander. During the fair, she provided some diabetic-friendly snacks and alternative ways of cooking using less sugar and fats.

Diabetes is starting to affect younger people due to their diet and lack of exercise. The fair succeeded in raising awareness of the new threat and diabetes in general, said Captain Leavitt, adding she hopes such efforts are contributing to achieving a healthier society.




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