Expo offers diabetes risk assessments

March 28, 2011|By DAVE MCMILLION |
  • Demar Pitt helps Geraldine Weaver play a Wii game Monday afternoon at the Diabetes Expo held at Elgin Station on Elgin Boulevard in Hagerstown.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Given his job of preparing burial places across the Tri-State area, Doug Miner said he sees plenty of people “leaving the earth.”

So the Hagerstown man took time to check his own health Monday when he stopped by the Meritus Diabetes Expo at Elgin Station on Elgin Boulevard.

After completing a diabetes risk assessment, Miner said he discovered he was at high risk for the disease.

Miner said he planned to follow some lifestyle tips he was given, such as exercising and eating healthfully.

“I got to. I’m 47 years old,” said Miner, adding that his brother has diabetes.

People were able check on their diabetes risk for free at the expo, which was held from 2 to 4:30 p.m.

Miranda Thomas, a critical-care nurse at Meritus Medical Center, said she decided to organize the expo to satisfy a community project requirement for a class at Towson University, where she is pursuing a master’s degree in nursing.

Thomas said she sees the threat of diabetes every day at the hospital in Hagerstown.

“Almost every patient I see has diabetes. If they don’t know it then, they know it before they leave,” Thomas said.

Thomas said not only has diabetes been a problem in the Hagerstown area, but the rate of disease has been increasing across the country due to sedentary lifestyles and poor diets, two contributing factors to the disease.

Consuming too much sugar can contribute to diabetes, Thomas said.

Diabetes is a disease in which the body has a shortage of insulin, a decreased ability to use insulin, or both. Insulin is a hormone that allows sugar to enter cells and be converted to energy. When diabetes is not controlled, glucose and fats remain in the blood and, over time, damage vital organs.

In addition to diabetes risk-assessment tests, people at the expo were able to get blood pressure screenings and body mass index screenings. The higher the results in the two tests, the higher the risk of diabetes, Thomas said.

Depression assessments also were offered. Depression is sometimes seen with diabetes, Thomas said.

Among the people taking advantage of the expo was John Creamer of Hagerstown, although he is in “pretty good health,” he said.

“I do a lot of walking,” said Creamer, adding that he walks about five miles a day.

Creamer said he found out about the expo after a flier was left at his apartment.

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