Fighting diabetes begins with awarness

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Abha Saxena, guest columnist

Diabetes is a worldwide epidemic and particularly prevalent here in the United States. According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately 29 million Americans suffer from diabetes. That equates to one in 10 Americans who are living with diabetes. It is estimated that by 2020, one in three will be affected by this disease. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure in the U.S. While alarming, the statistics cannot begin to capture the impact diabetes and kidney disease have in the lives of individual patients and their families. The average cost of health care for a person with diabetes is often more than twice the cost of those without diabetes. The physical, emotional, and financial struggles they face can be overwhelming and occur not just nationally, but right here in our own community!

As a physician I serve patients with diabetes and kidney disease in Cedar Rapids. Through this experience, I have seen many patients struggle to afford their medication expenses, medical supplies and even transportation costs to receive lifesaving treatments. I have a strong feeling that these diseases have to be attacked not just on an individual basis but also by raising awareness in the community. If our entire community comes together and helps in changing lifestyles along with helping people with diabetes and kidney disease manage their disease appropriately, it will help future generations. To address some of these problems the UnityPoint Health Diabetes and Kidney Fund was established. The fund provides financial assistance to patients with diabetes and kidney disease who live in our community.

To raise awareness about diabetes and kidney disease, UnityPoint Health is proudly hosting a “LiveWell 5K Walk/Run,” which will take place August 27, 2016. This year’s theme is “Dancing through the Decades” and will feature music along the route, as well as educational and family friendly activities at NewBo Market. Money raised from this event will go to the fund.

I extend an invitation to the community to join me on August 27 to support those struggling with diabetes and to become aware of its prevention. More information and registration can be found at unitypoint.org/livewell5k. Every dollar raised will go directly to patient assistance. It is with my upmost gratitude, I thank those sponsors and individuals who have already seen the power of Diabetes and Kidney fund by supporting those most needy within our community. I hope you will be among them as well.

• Dr. Abha Saxena is a nephrologist with UnityPoint Health Diabetes & Kidney Center. Comments: Abha.Saxena@unitypoint.org

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