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Community comes out for free fair

Controlling diabetes and preventing its onset was the goal of the Diabetes Awareness and Health Fair at Ohio University Southern on Friday.

Sponsored by the Ironton Lions Club, the fair featured numerous vendors giving away information and materials to educate and inform anyone about diabetes and issues associated with the disease.

Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital offered free blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, hemoglobin and A1C screenings.

“We had a gentleman come in this morning whose blood sugar was more than 200,” Diana Williams, registered nurse at OLBH, said. “But, his A1C was 6.2, which allows us to know he doesn’t always or often have a blood sugar level that high; it gives us a broader picture.”

The A1C test indicates a person’s average blood glucose (blood sugar) control for the past two or three months. The results give diabetics a good idea of how well their diabetes treatment plan is working.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate 25.8 million Americans have diabetes — 8.3 percent of the population. Of these, 7 million do not know they have the disease and the number of people diagnosed with diabetes rose from 1.5 million in 1958 to 18.8 million in 2010, an increase of epidemic proportions.

It is estimated that 79 million adults aged 20 and older have prediabetes, a condition where blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes. Studies have shown that by losing weight and increasing physical activity people can prevent or delay prediabetes from progressing to diabetes.

Both the Ironton and Lawrence County health departments offered free diabetic smoothies at the fair and the Lawrence County Sheriff’s handed out information about Project Lifesaver for Alzheimer’s patients. Other vendors at the fair included Genesis Oxygen and Home Medical Equipment, Unger’s Shoes, Tri-State Fitness and Rehab, CareSource, Area Agency on Aging District 7, Air Evac Lifeteam, Juice Plus, Community Hospice, Lawrence County Wellness Initiative, Ohio State Appalachian Translational Research Network, Ohio State University Extension’s Lawrence County Office, chiropractor Dr. Derek Dufore and Dr. William Basedow.

“The goal is for people to take home some knowledge they didn’t have before coming to the fair,” Laura Brown, Ironton Lions Club member and city health commissioner, said. “Everyone probably won’t need to visit all 15 vendors but chances are for each person there will be one or two vendors that can help them tremendously.”

Diabetic cookbooks were given away every 15 minutes and free fruit and water were available.