Edwardsburg Lions Club to host diabetes awareness event

EDWARDSBURG — The Edwardsburg Lions Club will host a Diabetes Awareness Day event later this month, in hopes of making people more cognizant of the causes and symptoms associated with the disease.

The event will take place from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24, at the Edwardsburg American Legion Hall, 25751 US-12. It will feature several presentations from health professionals, blood sugar and blood pressure testing, literature explaining some of the most recent diabetes-related technological advancements, a display showcasing the history of blood meters and more.

“It’s for the general public to make them aware of diabetes, some of the symptoms of diabetes and what to look for in not only themselves but also their children and loved ones,” said Melvin Reynolds, who is co-chairing the event. “We want to make them aware of the complications of diabetes, what will happen if it’s left untreated and some of the advancements in technology that have been made available for diabetes care.”

Local medical professionals will be administering all of the blood sugar and blood pressure tests. One of the recent technological advancement that will be discussed at the event is a continuous glucose monitoring system, which communicates directly with an insulin pump, telling it when to pump insulin and when to shut off.

Additionally, healthy snack options will be provided, to give people an idea of the nutrition intake that can help prevent diabetes.

“We’re hoping that people come away with information on things like nutrition, good diet, good foods to eat and information on treatment,” Reynolds said. “If they get a finger prick and their blood sugar happens to be high, maybe they are then made aware that they need to talk to their doctor. We just want to raise awareness.”

A few of the speakers include Jason Nicolai, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, and Staci Norman, a diabetic specialist and a pharmacist with Martin’s Pharmacy.  Both have spoken extensively on the topic of diabetes.

The Edwardsburg Lions Club decided that this was a pertinent topic for them to cover, especially after Lions Club International emphasized how important diabetes awareness and prevention is.

According to their website, Lions Club International also commemorates World Diabetes Day on Nov. 14, which is led by the International Diabetes Federation.

This is a topic that is near and dear to Reynolds, as well, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes decades ago, he said.

“I was diagnosed in 1978. I’ve been a diabetic for 39 years, and it will be 40 years this December,” he said. “I have a lot of these side effects of diabetes, I guess you would call them. I’m totally blind, I have some kidney issues, gastroparesis — which is delayed digestion — so I have some the of the issues that diabetes can cause and I don’t want to see somebody else go through that.”

Some other potential signs of high blood sugar and diabetes include excessive thirst and urination, fatigue, weight loss and blurred vision.

“Our pitch is be aware of the signs and symptoms and get yourself tested,” he said. “If you have any of the signs or symptoms, be aware.”

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