Diabetes is widely regarded as an epidemic in the United States. According to the National Center for Disease Control, more than 29 million Americans — 9.3 percent of the population – have diabetes and another 86 million people, 33 percent, are pre-diabetic.
Here on the Mid Shore, county-by-county rates of diabetes are even higher — between 9.5 percent and 14.8 percent – than the overall national rates. “What is really alarming about diabetes is that the great majority of people who are pre-diabetic or at risk for the disease are not aware of it,” says Doris Allen, RN, CDE, lead diabetes educator for the University of Maryland Center for Diabetes & Endocrinology, which is based at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton. “National Diabetes Month is an opportunity for us to help build awareness of diabetes and educate people about prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management of the disease,” she adds.
On Tuesday, October 28, the Talbot County Council issued a proclamation declaring November as Diabetes Awareness Month in Talbot County and encouraging “all citizens to fight this disease and its deadly complications … by increasing awareness of the risk factors for diabetes, making healthy lifestyle choices and by providing support to those suffering from diabetes.”
The UM Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology, based at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton, will hold an open house on World Diabetes Day, Friday, November 14, 1 to 4 p.m. The event is designed to help individuals with diabetes and their families to learn about the Center’s clinical services and classes, and to talk with vendor representatives about how various diabetes products work. It also will feature mini-presentations by Center staff on specific topics, including Pre-Diabetes — Reducing your Risk, Carbohydrate Counting 101, The Benefits of Being Active, and Insulin Delivery Devices. Attendance is free but RSVP is requested; call 410-822-1000, ext. 5757.
A second event offered during Diabetes Awareness Month is a presentation by the Center’s physicians, Kenneth Patrick Ligaray, MD, medical director, and Faustino Macuha, MD, on November 18, 7 p.m., in Cambridge, Md., in UM Shore Medical Center at Dorchester. Entitled “Staying Ahead of Diabetes,” this free presentation will include guidance on how to control risk factors – such as diet — and how to manage your care and medication if you’re diagnosed. Attendance is free but RSVP is requested; call 410-822-1000, ext. 5222.
On November 25 at 6:30 p.m. in UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown’s Conference Center, the Diabetes Support Group will host a special open meeting featuring a presentation by Dr. Leslie Emmert-Buck, an ophthalmologist with Mid-Shore Eye Care. Dr. Emmert-Buck will discuss how diabetes can affect the blood vessels in the eyes and the treatment options available for patients in whom eye problems are diagnosed early. To RSVP, call 410-778-7668, ext. 2175.
The UM Center for Diabetes & Endocrinology physicians, Kenneth Patrick Ligary, MD, medical director, and Faustino Macuha, Jr., MD, and other clinical and education staff see more than 370 patients every month in Easton and in the Multi-Specialty Clinic at UM SMC at Chestertown. In addition to clinical services, the Center offers a variety of diabetes education and classes, such as Diabetes Management, Carb Counting 101 and Gestational Diabetes; three monthly support groups (in Chestertown, Denton and Easton); and outreach services including presentations to community groups by the diabetes educators.
For more information about the Center and its clinical and educational services, call 410-822-1000, ext. 5757.
PHOTO: Members of the UM Center for Diabetes & Endocrinology staff with the proclamation from the Talbot County Council declaring November, 2014 as National Diabetes Awareness Month. Shown from left to right are two of the Center’s diabetes educators, Karen Hollis, RDN, CDE and Karen Canter, BSN, RN; Doris Allen, RN, CDE, lead educator for the Center; Kenneth Patrick Ligary, MD, medical director, and Faustino Macuha, Jr., MD.