Type 2 Diabetes
A noted area vascular surgeon, Juan Carlos Correa, is taking on “a silent assassin.” It robs people of their lower legs, toes, feet or vision; fatally damages kidneys; tortures victims with chronic, intense, agonizing pain and burning; brings on strokes or heart attacks; and ravages blood vessels, gastrointestinal tract and digestive system, or gums and teeth.
“It” is diabetes. Correa, a proponent of prevention is alarmed by the growing reach of the disease devastating minority populations. He’s dedicated to raising awareness in the Spanish-speaking community about prevention and averting the catastrophic consequences of diabetes he sees regularly in his practice, such as amputations, kidney failure and stroke. “There is hope diabetes can be defeated,” he says. “Even though it’s incurable, we can help prevent the devastating complications.”
Type 2 Diabetes In Hispanics
Diabetes is on the rise among Hispanics. Analysis of diabetes health data by the American Diabetes Association showed that 52.5 percent of Hispanic women and 45.4 percent of Hispanic men will have diabetes in their lifetime.
“The toll in the Hispanic community is huge,” says Megan Foreman with the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment. “We want to get out the message that type 2 diabetes (which accounts for more than 90 percent of diabetes cases) is preventable and how to prevent it.”
Foreman is program manager of LiveWell Johnson County, a chronic disease prevention initiative begun in 2015 to prevent obesity, diabetes, heart disease and strokes. “We have 15 different strategies to change individual lifestyles and the environment,” Foreman says.
Correa works with LiveWell to coordinate education programs, promotes prevention on Spanish-language radio – his recent quest spots on La Mega 100.5 FM radio were very popular – and helps identify education and outreach. “Save a Limb, Save a Life,” is a diabetes prevention presentation Correa regularly makes to groups. “Dr. Correa came into our project about a year ago,” Foreman says. “He’s very passionate about prevention. As a vascular surgeon, he sees the end result of diabetes and he wanted to talk to Hispanics in Spanish about the need to avoid these terrible outcomes.”
Most of Correa’s patients have type 2 diabetes, he says. “My passion is preventing people from getting their legs cut off. As a specialist, I get referred patients with long-term complications that could have been prevented. I treat the disease and help educate everyone I encounter because I care about patients and their families.”
Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
“Diabetes gets a lot of our attention,” Foreman says. “We heavily promote our Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). It’s a year-long lifestyle change program and has been proven to reverse the course of diabetes.” The program aims to help participants lose five-to-ten percent of body weight and add 150 minutes of exercise to weekly routines. New DPP courses starts regularly and are offered at Juntos Center for Advancing Latino Health, Hen House Markets, Riverview Health Services and YMCA locations. Prices range from free to $429.
LiveWell coordinates the programs and created with Wyandotte County’s Community Health Council the preventdiabeteskc.com resource. The bilingual website has DPP class listings, the diabetes risk assessment and key diabetes facts.
LiveWell is marking National Diabetes Awareness Month in November by saturating local markets with prevention publicity. “We want to highlight that it’s possible to prevent type 2 diabetes by exercising regularly and changing your diet to include whole grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts and beans,” Foreman says.
One in three Americans might be diabetic, Correa says. In 2015, people with diabetes numbered 382 million. The National Institute of Health’s estimated projection by 2035 is 592 million. That could result in a critical shortage of specialists. The crisis is avoidable, Correa emphasizes. Type 2 diabetes and diabetes complications are preventable.
“It takes a team,” Correa says. “The family and the doctor have to be involved and part of care.”
Article originally ran in 2 Más 2, Kansas City’s Bilingual Newspaper, on Thursday, November 1, 2017. Article written by Rita Sherrie.