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Hardin Memorial Hospital is trying to raise awareness of diabetes and help people learn to prevent and deal with the condition during the fifth annual Diabetes Expo.
The free event takes place Monday during American Diabetes Month and before World Diabetes Day Nov. 14.
It is from 4-7 p.m. at the Pritchard Community Center on South Mulberry Street in Elizabethtown to raise awareness about the growing prevalence of diabetes and help visitors learn about issues such as eating healthy, getting physical activity and monitoring the disease.
Activities and services are expected to include free eye and foot screenings and vendors of diabetes health products and services.
In addition to vendors, seven educational booths throughout the facility are expected.
Hospital officials strongly encourage visitors to spend time at those booths and ask any questions they have about preventing and managing the disease or at least make contact with professionals who can answer future questions, said Vanessa Paddy, coordinator of the hospital’s diabetes management program.
“We want them to go away having learned something new, getting their questions answered,” she said.
It’s important to reach out to residents about diabetes through education because such tools are needed to confront the disease, Paddy said.
The hospital encourages a team approach to facing diabetes, working with a healthcare provider and an educator. Still, many of the factors associated with preventing and managing the disease, such as eating healthy and getting physical activity, are in the hands of the individual, she said.
Much of their success depends on everyday decisions, such as what to have for dinner, Paddy said.
“We know that we can’t go home with them,” she said.
That’s why health care employees want to empower area residents to lead better lives while combating diabetes, Paddy said.
“We really feel that the more informed an individual is about their disease, the better their outcome is,” she said.
Having such information is especially important in Kentucky, which has a higher-than-average rate of obesity, a risk factor for diabetes, Paddy said.
The rate of Kentuckians with diabetes has increased from 6.5 percent in 2000 to 10 percent, or 370,000 people, in 2010. The increase is especially growing among young adults, according to the 2011 Kentucky Diabetes Fact Sheet.
Most Kentucky residents are at immediate risk of developing diabetes because of high rates of obesity and low rates of physical activity, according to the fact sheet.
Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or firstname.lastname@example.org.