Putting the Word ‘Health’ Back Into the Discussion on Health Reform

On Saturday I visited with the McLeod Diabetes Team at our 11th Annual Diabetes Fair.

Diabetes Health Fair 2009 028

Pictured here is the information booth area and participants at this educational event. More than 300 people attended the 11th Annual McLeod Diabetes Fair.


While some of our political leaders were in Washington on Saturday working to pass a version of ‘health reform’, members of the McLeod Diabetes Team were offering ‘health reform’ to friends, family and the community.

Diabetes is a health problem in which the body does not produce enough insulin or does not properly respond to insulin.  Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas and it helps cells to produce energy by allowing them to absorb glucose.  Diabetes affects this natural process and causes an accumulation of glucose in the blood stream.  Over periods of time this causes health complications for the person with Diabetes.  For the last twenty years, the incidence of Diabetes has increased in North America. It is estimated that 24 million people in the United States have Diabetes and 57 million have pre-Diabetes.

The Centers for Disease Control has called this condition in our country an epidemic.  It is estimated that 132 billion dollars are spent each year in the United States on the treatment for Diabetes.

The free Diabetes Health Fair on Saturday at the McLeod Plaza and Conference Center included blood sugar screening, blood pressure screening and eye screening.  In addition, foot checks were offered along with information about oral hygiene, nutrition and medication.

The good news here is that with proper diet, exercise and education and treatment from the medical team, this disease can be managed.  However, it requires active, informed and engaged compliance from the individual, family and community. 

I want to thank Marilyn Henderson, Coordinator of the McLeod Diabetes Center and the Diabetes staff of professionals: Sonda Jett-Clair, Anita Longan, and Deborah Thomas as well as Tavy Smalls, AHEC Health Careers Program Coordinator; Ben Battle, McLeod Health Executive Chef and the McLeod Nutrition Services team; Levina Brown, Cardiac Rehab Nurse; Sandy Carlson, McLeod Health and Fitness Center Personal Trainer; Dr. Jason Lee, Palmetto Vision Center; Leah Fleming, McLeod Marketing and Francis Marion Student Nurses who supported this effort.

Thanks for all you do to improve the health of our community.


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