Lions and Spectrum Health partner for diabetes program

Pictured at an outreach event are (from left) Bill Simpson, Big Rapids Lions Club; Beth Langenberg and Scott Lombard, Spectrum Health Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals; and Denny Finney, Big Rapids Lions Club. Seated in front is James Nostrant. (Courtesy photo)

Submitted to the Pioneer

BIG RAPIDS — Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects more and more people each year. In Michigan, there are 1,052,000 men, women and children who suffer daily from diabetes. Of that number, 77,000 are children and it is estimated there are 259,000 more individuals with diabetes who have not yet been diagnosed.

The Lions Club International recently promoted pilot projects for diabetic retinopathy screenings, blood glucose screenings (A1C) and nutritional programs. District 11E1 in Michigan, which covers 16 counties in central and northwest Michigan, was granted one of the 25 grants worldwide to address the issue. The $45,000 award will enable the Lions, through partnerships with health care organizations, to serve people in the 16 counties who qualify to receive treatment at no cost. Six cities across the district were selected to serve as central locations, with Big Rapids being one of them.

Through a partnership with Spectrum Health Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals, events have already taken place to address these issues. Blood glucose screenings have been conducted by hospital personnel at numerous locations to date. As a part of the screening process, an individual completes a prediabetes screening questionnaire.

If the result of the questionnaire indicates risk of prediabetes, an HbA1c test is offered. Education, provided by diabetes educators at Spectrum Health, is offered to any individual identified with prediabetes or diabetes. Screenings conducted at the Block Party and Big Rapids Farmers Market through Aug. 30 resulted in 16 individuals identified with prediabetes; education was provided to interested individuals. In addition, diabetes education was provided to interested individuals with diabetes.

Health care professionals know with lifestyle changes, including proper diet and exercise, diabetes can be delayed or prevented. For individuals with diabetes, being in control can help prevent or delay serious diabetes-related complications. This community partnership is helping raise awareness of the risk for developing diabetes and provide educational resources to assist in preventing the disease. Once the individual becomes diabetic, it is almost impossible to “go back.” For more information, call 1-888-659-3662 or email dadgrant11e1@gmail.com.

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