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OMC to host Diabetes Care Fair with free screening Nov. 13

Event includes free A1C screening, education for those with diabetes

More than 29 million Americans, or 9 percent of the population, are living with diabetes and approximately 8 million of those individuals remain undiagnosed, according to the American Diabetes Association.

In order to increase the awareness of this potentially life-threatening disease, Ozarks Medical Center will host a Diabetes Care Fair from 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Willard Hunter Classroom in Parkway Center, located off Porter Wagoner Boulevard in West Plains.

"Educating ourselves and making healthy lifestyles choices can prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes," said Laura Collins , RN, Ozarks Medical Center Health Educator. "Knowing the signs and symptoms can also help with an early diagnosis and prevent major, long-term damage from the disease. For those living with the disease, information about self-care and preventing complications can make a huge difference in quality of life and long-term health."

The diabetes fair will include a free A1C screening, which is a blood test that provides information about a person's average levels of blood glucose, also called blood sugar, over the past three months. No fasting is required for this test.

Body mass index (BMI) calculations, feet checks and blood pressure checks will be offered. In addition, information will be available on coping with stress, exercise options, cardiovascular health, smoking cessation, neuropathy, stroke, nutrition and diabetic supplies.

This OMC event is held in recognition of American Diabetes Month in November.

Collins said she encourages people to know the warning signs of Type 2 Diabetes, which include increased thirst, frequent urination, slow healing cuts or sores, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, blurred vision, dizziness, itchy or dry skin, fatigue or frequent infections. Any one or a combination of these symptoms should prompt a person to seek medical help.

"Too often, signs and symptoms of diabetes are overlooked or even ignored," she said. "The symptoms can advance slowly and by then, the disease may have caused long-term damage to the body."

Prolonged elevated blood sugar can lead to long-term complications such as kidney damage, sexual problems, cataracts, glaucoma, retinopathy, nerve damage known as neuropathy and an increased risk for heart attack and stroke.

This event is free and open to anyone interested in learning more about diabetes. For more information, call 417-257-6793.

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