Summer Bash offers diabetes info

LIHU‘E — The Lions Club volunteers suggested that people who had elevated blood sugar readings check with their doctors, said Roy Nishida of the East Kaua‘i Lions Club.

“Every year, we have some people who have blood sugar level readings which are above normal,” Nishida said. “If they check with their doctor, they get a jump start in controlling diabetes.”

Kaua‘i Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. was not one of those who had the elevated readings. A big smile blossomed across his face after learning of his blood sugar readings, Saturday morning.

Nishida said all of the Lions Clubs on Kaua‘i get together to host the Summer Bash event where various tests are administered to the public in hopes of catching diabetes in its early stages as well as offer information on diabetes.

“This is the eighth year the Lions Clubs on Kaua‘i are doing this event,” Nishida said. “We’ve always worked with Kaua‘i Diabetes Today who has literature available for people seeking more information on the disease.”

Nishida said during the Saturday morning screenings, there were about a hundred people who took advantage of the tests and an additional 50 people who came in for more information and learn more about diabetes.

Diabetes mellitus, or simply diabetes, is a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels which result from defects in the body’s ability to produce and/or use insulin, states the American Diabetes Association.

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to control blood sugar. Diabetes can be caused by too little insulin, resistance to insulin, or both, states the U.S. National Library of Medicine, PubMed Health website.

The role of insulin is to move glucose, a source of fuel for the body, from the bloodstream into muscle, fat and liver cells where it can be used as fuel.

People with diabetes have high blood sugar because their body cannot move sugar into fat, liver and muscle cells to be stored for energy.

There are three types of diabetes, with causes and risks of each type being different.

Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age, but it most often diagnosed in children, teens  or young adults. The body makes little or no insulin in this disease and daily injections of insulin are required.

Type 2 diabetes makes up most of diabetes cases, occurring in adults, but an increasing number occurring in teens and young adults because of high obesity rates.

Most people with Type 2 diabetes do not know they have it, and the Summer Bash tests being made available to help people discover the disease.

The American Diabetes Association states that people can prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes through a healthy lifestyle, encouraging a change of diet, increasing levels of physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight.

The Summer Bash, with the help of a Filipino community service group, provided samples of a healthy meal, a service which resulted when they realized Filipinos are at high risk to develop diabetes.

The third type of diabetes is gestational diabetes, or high blood sugar levels which develop at any time during pregnancy in a woman who does not have diabetes.

Data from the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet released Jan. 26, reveals that 25.8 million children and adults in the United States, or 8.3 percent of the population have diabetes, the American Diabetes Association website states.

A Hawai‘i Department of Health 2004 report estimates that 72,000 to 100,000 people have diabetes in Hawai‘i, of which 25,000, or more, remain undiagnosed, the higher rates being Native Hawaiians, Filipinos and Japanese.

Diabetes is also the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults aged 20 through 74, the report states.

Diabetic retinopathy accounts for about 12,000 to 24,000 new cases of blindness each year, regular eye exams and timely treatment being effective in preventing up to 90 percent of diabetes-related blindness.

The Hawai‘i Department of Health report also states diabetes is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease with more than 40,000 people with diabetes developing kidney failure. Treatment to better control blood pressure and blood glucose levels could reduce diabetes-related kidney failure by about 50 percent.

Visit www.diabetes.org for more information.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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