2004-11-19 / Community

St. Johns Episcopal Hosts Diabetes Awareness Day

By Miriam Rosenberg Contributing Editor


Dr. Steven Sherman, SJEH’s Director of Resident Training in Ophthalmology, discusses the problems of eye disease for a diabetic. He advised all diabetics to have their eyes checked once a year.
Dr. Steven Sherman, SJEH’s Director of Resident Training in Ophthalmology, discusses the problems of eye disease for a diabetic. He advised all diabetics to have their eyes checked once a year. November is Diabetes Awareness month and St. John’s Episcopal Hospital (SJEH) held a Diabetes Awareness Day on November 12 to inform the community about a disease that can lead to many fatal and debilitating illnesses, including heart attacks, blindness, kidney failure and amputations.

According to a health profile published by the New York City Department of Health in 2002, the Rockaways has a higher percentage of problems from diabetes – adult hospitalizations are five percent higher and deaths are 20 percent higher – than the city as a whole.

Free blood pressure and glucose testing were available during Diabetes Awareness Day at SJEH. Congressman Gregory Meeks’ BP was 118/78. Photos by Miriam Rosenberg.
Free blood pressure and glucose testing were available during Diabetes Awareness Day at SJEH. Congressman Gregory Meeks’ BP was 118/78. Photos by Miriam Rosenberg. Risk factors for diabetes include obesity and physical inactivity, factors that are also most important in treating the disease.

“Ninety percent of treatment for diabetes is diet and exercise,” said Dr. Sheldon Markowitz of SJEH. “Medicines are 10 percent.”

A team that includes an ophthalmologist and a podiatrist help diabetics keep a tight control on their health.

Carolyn Green of the American Diabetes Association keeps busy as she discusses and distributes information about diabetes.
Carolyn Green of the American Diabetes Association keeps busy as she discusses and distributes information about diabetes. Diabetic eye disease can include cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

“Blood vessels leak. If the center of the retina is affected by diabetes, vision is distorted or blurry and then permanent damage or vision [can be] lost,” said Dr. Steven Sherman, SJEH’s Director of Resident Training in Ophthalmology, about diabetic retinopathy.

Since the symptoms for diabetic retinopathy may not occur until later in the eye disease, diabetics should make yearly eye exams part of their health routine. Diabetics must inspect their feet daily and go to a see a podiatrist one to two times a year to check for any problems that develop.

Podiatrist Dr. Lloyd Bardfeld, answers questions from some of those who heard him speak. He explained how such things as calluses, ingrown toenails and ulcers on the foot – can become big problems if not treated correctly.
Podiatrist Dr. Lloyd Bardfeld, answers questions from some of those who heard him speak. He explained how such things as calluses, ingrown toenails and ulcers on the foot – can become big problems if not treated correctly. “A little sore can become a big problem,” said podiatrist Dr. Lloyd Bardfeld. “It is easier to prevent problems than to treat them.”

A low fat diet is a must for diabetics. Stephanie Cordaro (right), the Clinical Dietitian at SJEH, demonstrated a recipe for a Chicken Stir Fry dish that got rave reviews from those attending. Joining Cordaro is Meredith Cummings, a Dietetic Intern.
A low fat diet is a must for diabetics. Stephanie Cordaro (right), the Clinical Dietitian at SJEH, demonstrated a recipe for a Chicken Stir Fry dish that got rave reviews from those attending. Joining Cordaro is Meredith Cummings, a Dietetic Intern. Breaks in skin that become ulcers, fungal toenails, ingrown toenails and calluses can go from something minor to infections if a diabetic does not treat the problem correctly.

The new Center For Wound Healing at St. John’s has a hyperbaric chamber that uses hyperbaric oxygen therapy to help heal wounds that will not heal.

Exercise and diabetes go hand-in-hand as one visitor to the event is being told at an information table during Diabetes Awareness Day at SJEH.
Exercise and diabetes go hand-in-hand as one visitor to the event is being told at an information table during Diabetes Awareness Day at SJEH. Stopping by to show support for the event was Congressman Gregory Meeks and Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer.

“With technology today, people are living longer [with] better quality of lives, but not all the information is getting to all the people,” said Meeks. “Community hospitals [like St. John’s] are reaching out and making a difference in the community.”

Pheffer called the Diabetes Awareness Day an opportunity for people to find out what services are available to them.

Free blood pressure and glucose testing was available, and visitors were given valuable information about diabetes.

Similar events were held at Peninsula Hospital Center and the Addabbo Family Health Center. Sponsoring the Diabetes Awareness Day at the facilities were the Visiting Nurse Service of New York and the American Diabetes Association.

SJEH holds a diabetes education program on the fourth Monday of each month from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Peninsula’s diabetes support group meets the second Monday of every month from 10 to 11 a.m.

During the month of November, Addabbo will have diabetic education workshops on Tuesdays (2:30 to 3:30 p.m.) and Thursdays (1 p.m. to 2 p.m.).

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