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Stopping Diabetes Starts Now

November 09, 2010

Free Diabetes Health Fair Focuses on Prevention, Treatment

Diabetes is sneaky. It develops quietly over time and often takes its victims by surprise. But it is not the end of the road; it is a beginning for people who want to manage the disease with lifestyle modifications like diet and exercise.

On Saturday, Nov. 20, beginning at 8 a.m., Washington Hospital will host a free Diabetes Health Fair that will include a free breakfast and snack, screenings—including blood glucose, A1C and cholesterol—as well as educational booths and presentations from experts in diabetes management.

Tackling diabetes and kidney disease head on

From 9 to 10 a.m., keynote speaker David Tay, M.D., an internist and nephrologist on the Washington Hospital medical staff, will focus in on the most common diabetes-related complication: kidney disease.

"I think it’s important that people with diabetes are aware that diabetes is the No. 1 cause of kidney disease in the United States," Dr. Tay says. "More than half of the people on dialysis are because they have diabetes.

"I want people to understand that there are some things they can do early on to control the risk before they develop kidney disease, and for those who have already been diagnosed, there are things they can do to slow it or take control of the situation. When realizing dialysis is necessary, some patients are surprised that if they had been aware early on, they may have been able to modify their risk or delay the disease’s onset."

Dr. Tay says that no matter what stage patients are in—whether pre-kidney disease or in renal failure—they can still tackle the problem head on.

"Sometimes you can still modify it and push out kidney failure for two or three years," he says. "But oftentimes we ignore these things and it’s easy to look the other way and pretend the disease isn’t there. Unfortunately, kidney disease does not give you early warning, but the doctor can run tests for it."

When dealing with a diagnosis of diabetes or kidney disease, Dr. Tay says there are countless issues to discuss with your doctor, which can lead to many important topics to get drowned out by other concerns.

"I think this conference will benefit those in early stages to be more aware of the possibilities, including what to ask the doctor and the importance of being involved in their care," he says. "For those who have had the disease for some time, we will talk about how to stay on top of kidney disease and possibly slow or arrest its progress. Even those very far along still have choices of treatment because kidney disease is nowhere near as bad as liver, lung or heart failure."

Learn about how exercise can help you manage diabetes

Following Dr. Tay’s presentation, Mike Rogers, certified athletic trainer and Washington Hospital’s Sports Medicine Program Coordinator, will spend time talking about practical ways exercise can be incorporated into daily life as a way to both prevent and manage diabetes.

"The goal is going to be to educate patients on how to start an exercise program or how to enhance an existing exercise program in order to make greater strides in their diabetes management," Rogers says.

He will also include tips on how to develop an exercise routine you can do at home or on your own if joining a gym is cost prohibitive.

To snack, or not to snack

Anna Mazzei, R.D., a certified diabetes educator at Washington Hospital, will close out the fair with a food demonstration.

"We’re going to talk about the question of: to snack or not to snack," Mazzei says. "People might have misconception that snacks are needed, when it’s truly an individual thing. Factors that determine a person’s need for snacks include: individual preferences, schedule, weight management status and medications."

Mazzei will cover:

  • How to determine if you need a snack
  • The optimal kinds of snacks for successful diabetes management
  • How to feel satisfied and not disrupt blood sugar or interfere with weight management

She will look at a range of snacks, including more labor-intensive preparations to pre-packaged options and snacks that are nonperishable.

"I’ll be looking at what food groups to combine to make snacks, as well as the what the nutrient content should be," Mazzei says.

Get the scoop

To learn more about effective diabetes management, plan to attend Washington Hospital’s Diabetes Health Fair on Saturday, Nov. 20, beginning at 8 a.m. The fair will take place in the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium, located at 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont, located across the street from the main hospital.

To register, visit www.whhs.com or call (800) 963-7070.