District Disabilities Awareness Month: Focus On Diabetes
By Dave Palmer
LOS ANGELES — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only five percent of diabetes cases are Type 1. That leaves roughly 95 percent of all diabetes as Type 2, which is largely preventable with healthy food, physical activity and weight loss. The CDC notes that if the current trend continues, one in three American adults will have diabetes by 2050.
A trend so alarming that the Americans with Disabilities Act incorporated diabetes as a disability, effective Jan. 1, 2009. And why on Oct. 24, the Special Emphasis Program Committee, in recognition of Disabilities Awareness Month, featured an awareness lecture in their program. Doctor of Pharmacy Lindsay Gordon, a pharmacy resident with the Los Angeles Medical Center, was the keynote speaker.
“It’s the leading cause for new blindness, kidney failure and accounts for 60 percent of non-traumatic lower limb amputations,” said Gordon.
Type 2 diabetes was formally known as “adult onset diabetes,” which gives a false impression of who can acquire the disease. According to the CDC, the last two decades have seen an increase in
Type 2 diabetes among children and adolescents. It is the cumulative effect of lifestyle factors (e.g. obesity, lack of physical activity, poor diet, stress, etc.) that plays a greater role than genetics according to Gordon. And the bad news doesn’t stop there.
“Diabetics have a higher risk for stroke and heart attack, two to four times greater than those without the disease,” said Gordon.
Much of the treatment regimen is the same as the prevention and never having diabetes is a good thing.
Cecy Ordonez the District’s Army Health Promotion Coordinator said, “Although Diabetes is typically incurable, it is preventable. Having the right tools to stay healthy is key: eating a well balanced diet, regular physical activity, annual doctor visits for physical exams, and following your doctors directions (e.g. stop smoking or lose weight). Making this a priority is the first step to a better quality of life for you and your family.”
According to the Library of Congress, the intent of this remembrance is to pay tribute to the accomplishments of men and women with disabilities and to ensure equal opportunity for all citizens. This year’s theme is “A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?”
Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy said, “Employers who ensure that inclusive workplace policies and practices are woven into the fabric and culture of the organization create an environment that encourages all workers — including those of us with disabilities — to work to their full capacity and contribute fully to the organization’s success.”
Deputy Chief of Programs and Project Management Division Ken Morris summed up the remembrance.
“Our motto in the Los Angeles District is ‘BUILDING STRONG and Taking Care of People,’ said Morris. “What it means is that we provide folks with the tools, facilities and training to execute our mission. As I see it, there’s a perfect spirit in each one of us and in spite of our perceived imperfections, we all have the power to do a lot of things we think we can’t do. Each one of us has something incredible to offer.”