SIKESTON - A restricted diet, medication, exercise, no
smoking... There is often a long list of lifestyle
changes that must be made when diagnosed with
The disease can be frustrating and life-altering,
which is why in recognition of National Diabetes
Month, the Daughters of Sunset and Missouri Delta
Medical Center's Diabetes Center have teamed up to
host a diabetes awareness health fair Saturday which
will focus on self management of the disease.
From 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Education Room in
the basement of MDMC, residents are invited to be
screened for diabetes then have their questions
answered and concerns addressed by a professional
panel of a variety of individuals knowledgeable about
diabetes. Lunch will be provided.
"We were talking about diseases and people who were
having programs and doing things about it. One of our
members has diabetes and we thought why don't we just
do a program ourselves," said Sue Marble, member of
the Daughters of Sunset and on MDMC's Board of
"I talked to Felecia Blanton, public relations person
at the hospital, and she said she'd be glad to help
out and it just started things moving. I do know that
there's a lot of information that people need to find
out about. For instance, they need to know the new
medicines, the machinery and the foot program that's
out there could save a lot of people from losing their
toes and their limbs.
"And I think one thing people should really be careful
about is the disposal of the needles and materials
that they use. It's easy to give yourself a shot and
just carelessly lay a needle down."
Marble believes many individuals' lack of knowledge
about diabetes can be attributed to not having access
to information. "I don't think all of us get that
information or pay attention to it," she said. "Some
of us are less informed because we don't get the paper
or subscribe to magazines that carry information
Diabetes causes the body not to produce or properly
use insulin, which is a hormone that is needed to
convert sugar, starches and other food into energy
needed for daily life.
The cause of the disease remains a mystery, although
both genetics and environmental factors such as
obesity and lack of exercise seem to play roles.
There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 is where the
body does not produce any insulin, which most often
occurs in children and young adults. People with Type
1 diabetes must take daily insulin injections to stay
alive. This type accounts for 5-10 percent of
One of every three newly diagnosed adolescents has
Type 2, the most common form of the disease which is a
metabolic disorder resulting from the body's inability
to make enough or properly use insulin. The American
Diabetes Association describes this type as nearing
epidemic proportions due to an increased number of
older Americans and a greater prevalence of obesity
and sedentary lifestyles.
"On the panel there will be a nurse practitioner,
ideally there will be a pharmacist, a certified
diabetes educator who is also a registered dietitian
and there will be individuals from the community,"
said Nan Thornton, registered dietitian and certified
diabetes educator through the American Diabetes
Association. "We, being the community, really want to
increase the awareness of diabetes and how an
individual can have control over their diabetes and
learn to live healthy lifestyles that will decrease or
prevent diabetic complications."
She pointed out this is one of the communities with
the highest rate of diabetes in the state. "We have an
increase in sedentary lifestyles, we have an increase
in obesity and we have a pretty high genetic gene pool
of diabetes in this area. All of those factors
combined can relate to the increased prevalence of
Over 270,000 adults in Missouri have diabetes and
minority adults are twice as likely to be diagnosed
with diabetes as non-Hispanic whites. An estimated
1,947,727 Missouri adults are at increased risk for
undiagnosed diabetes because of risk factors including
age, obesity and leisure time physical inactivity.
In 1999, 121,280 Missouri adults were hospitalized due
to diabetes-related complications which included
kidney problems, eye problems, amputations and heart
disease and an additional diagnosis. Also that year,
there were 32,967 emergency visits as a result of
Using 2000 U.S. Census data, estimated medical care
costs for diabetes include an annual direct cost of
$925,000,000 and an annual lost productivity and
premature death cost of approximately $1,150,000,000.
Marble said the upcoming event will enable residents
to find out about diabetes from someone who actually
has it, rather than merely reading about it.
"Each individual who has diabetes has a story to tell
about how they live with it. That information can be
passed on to someone else and it may help. People who
come to the event can talk about their disease and
what they do, you don't have to really let it be a big
problem. Who I would like to see there on Saturday is
the general public, students, people from my
neighborhood and the Sunset area and even people who
don't have the disease but may have a family member
who has it."