The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Editorials

November 14, 2012

All the help we can get

Upon learning that the American Diabetes Association will re-establish an office in West Virginia early next year, one county health department official said “We’ll take all the help we can get.”

Indeed, West Virginia needs all the assistance and funding that’s possible in order to combat a health issue that already affects an estimated 250,000 people in our state.

We have one of the highest rates of diabetes, per capita, in the country and it’s growing every day. It has been labeled as an epidemic.

More school-aged children in West Virginia are being diagnosed with diabetes.

The problem is spiraling in the wrong direction.

So to hear that the ADA is coming back is great news.

Outreach and educating the public, adults and youngsters alike, are critical components in the challenge we face to stem the tide and to begin reducing the numbers of West Virginians that have this disease. Currently, access is limited to these services and in many rural locales its non-existent.

Diabetes triggers numerous other complications that often become devastating physically, psychologically, socially and economically.

So yes, its big news for West Virginia that the ADA is coming back to focus on its mission and to provide services.

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month and as a part of that we would like to remind those afflicted with diabetes to try and follow as many of the following guidelines as possible.

— Have at least two HbA1c tests per year

— An annual cholesterol test

— An annual blood test that tells how well your kidneys are working (GFR)

— An annual urine test to check for protein (albumin) in your urine

— An annual dilated eye exam

— An annual dental exam

— An annual comprehensive foot exam

— An annual flu shot

— A pneumonia shot

Prevention and control of diabetes is attainable, but the key is to educate the public as much as possible. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.

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