Thursday, July 17, 2014

Join the Library for a Chat About Diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 29 million Americans have diabetes. What’s even more startling is that, of those, more than 8 million don’t know they have it.

To help raise awareness about the disease, the St. Louis Public Library and its partners will present “Diabetes: What’s New, What Works, and How Can I Prevent It?” The program will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 22 in the Carnegie Room at Central Library, 1301 Olive Street. It will feature Certified Diabetes Educator Jennifer Markee and pharmacist Amy Drew, who will discuss this increasingly prevalent disease and the ways in which it can be treated and managed.

A consultant for the St. Louis Diabetes Coalition and the OASIS Institute, Markee is a medical social worker and a certified diabetes educator through the American Association of Diabetes Educators. Drew is an assistant professor of pharmacy practice at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy and a practicing pharmacist at the Ambulatory Clinic at Mercy Clinic Family Medicine.

“In the last 10 to 15 years, there has been such an increase in the diagnosis of diabetes. It’s becoming more pervasive,” Markee said. “One out of five Americans has diabetes so this is important for people to look at and not sweep under the rug.”

Markee said that a diabetes diagnosis often comes with a dose of guilt, as people often automatically assume that they did something wrong to deserve the diagnosis. However, diabetes is part lifestyle and part hereditary. “It becomes this elephant in the room, and people think it’s not valid enough to talk about in conversation,” she said.

At the July 22 event, Markee said she hopes to remove some of that stigma, and to help people learn about the symptoms and warning signs of diabetes, as well as how it is diagnosed, and help them get started on developing a support system to learn more about this chronic disease. She and Drew will also discuss some of the ways that diabetes can be controlled, including exercise habits and reading nutrition labels.

“Diabetes: What’s New, What Works, and How Can I Prevent It?” is the third presentation in “Can I Catch That?,” the St. Louis Public Library’s 2014 Consumer Health Information Speaker Series. The fourth presentation, “See No Evil, Speak No Evil: The Story Your Eyes and Mouth Tell About Your Health,” will take place on Tuesday, October 28 at Central Library. For more information on this series and other health events at the Library, call 314.539.0390.

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