Ron Aylward and his diabetes-sensing dog, Hunter, will take part in the One Senior Place five-part series, “Your Diabetic Health,” which starts Oct. 7. (Photo: Adrienne Roth/Special to FLORIDA TODAY)
You probably know someone with diabetes.
Heck, you may even have it yourself, considering the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 1 in 10 Americans has diabetes, and 1 in 3 is pre-diabetic.
Most of them do not even realize they are a statistic. Approximately 7.2. million Americans have diabetes and don’t know it, and less than 12 percent of adults with prediabetes are aware they have it.
The pancreas of folks with diabetes does not produce enough insulin, a hormone that allows cells to turn the sugar, or glucose, from our food into energy. The excess sugar stays in their bloodstream, which can lead to serious health problems over time.
As boomers age, the proportion of older people is increasing, and along with that increase is a spike in chronic diseases such as diabetes. It is not, however, a disease that focuses only on the elderly.
Diabetes affects all ages, even children, 187,000 of whom suffer from Type 1 diabetes.
More youths are developing diabetes, and racial and ethnic minorities continue to develop Type 2 diabetes at higher rates.
Oh, yes, about those types.
Type 1 diabetes, aka juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition precipitated by factors such as genetics and viruses. Although Type 1 diabetes usually appears during childhood or adolescence, it can develop in adults.
Type 2 diabetes was once known as adult-onset diabetes and accounts for 95 percent of all diabetes cases. While it usually develops slowly over the years, today more children are being diagnosed with the disease, thanks to an increase in childhood obesity.
There is no cure for either Type 1 or 2, but there is treatment. Managing the disease is imperative, since people with diabetes are at increased risk of serious health complications including vision loss, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and amputation of toes, feet, or legs and, the big one — premature death.
By addressing diabetes, these and other related problems can be prevented or delayed.
These sobering facts and figures should get you incentivized to tune into One Senior Place’s “Your Diabetic Health,” a free education series that launches Oct. 7 and continues until Nov. 18. While the seminars will be held in-person at One Senior Place headquarters, 8085 Spyglass Hill Rd., Viera, a Zoom version will also be available for those who prefer to stay home.
The need to raise awareness of the disease is definitely there.
“The number of people with diabetes or prediabetes has soared over the last 20 years,” said Barbara Fradkin, director of One Senior Place. “The good news is that 95% of all diabetics can prevent or delay the disease with healthy lifestyle changes. Our series explores what we can all do to live a healthier life.”
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Fradkin herself is well aware of how badly diabetes can impact an individual.
“My father developed diabetes at a much older age after a heart condition,” she said. “At that point in his life, it was difficult for him to control the symptoms due to his age and health decline.
“It led to more cardiac issues, infections and his ability to fight off illness. It was one of the contributing factors that led to his death. Diabetes is something that my sister and I both watch out for on a regular basis.”
Although One Senior Place has in the past hosted small group classes for diabetes, this is the first time the one-stop senior services facility has undertaken a diabetes-themed series with multiple topics and information.
Presented in partnership with Chefs for Seniors, Aging Matters, Florida Healthcare Plans and VITAS Health Care, the five-part “Your Diabetic Health” will help people recognize the early signs of the disease and educate attendees on the healthy lifestyle changes and preventive measures necessary to mitigate the disease.
“There is clear evidence that prediabetes treatment can delay or prevent the conversion to diabetes,” said Catherine Robinson, Registered Diabetes Educator with Florida Health Plans.
One Senior Place’s series covers all bases of the disease. The programs begin with an introduction to the disease at 10 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 7. The presentation is led by Kathleen Macneill, a certified diabetic education with Florida Health Care Plans.
At noon on Monday, Oct. 12, Dr. Frederick Peterson, medical director with VITAS Healthcare, will discuss “Living with Diabetes” and take questions from the audience.
A Zoom-only six-week workshop on “Living Healthy with Diabetes,” presented by Paula Schroeder of Aging Matters in Brevard, runs from 2 to 3 p.m. Tuesdays from Oct. 13 to Nov. 11.
Certified diabetic educator Kathleen Macneill is back at 10 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 4, for a program on “Making Sense of the Numbers.”
The series concludes at 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 18, when Jillian Zebris from Chefs for Seniors and Debbie Kelleher, a dietician with Florida Health Care Plans, join forces for a program on “Nutrition and Cooking.”
“I am hoping that the people who attend this series learn new ways to help control diabetes, enrich their lives and become healthier,” said Fradkin. “We are living longer and need to take better care of ourselves so we can have a good quality of life.”
Attendees can pick and choose among the “Your Diabetic Health” seminars or attend the entire series. Since space is strictly limited to allow for social distancing, RSVP is a must, as is registration to request a Zoom link. Call 321-751-6771 or visit OneSeniorPlace.com.
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