Atlanta, Ga. -With more than 30 state and nationally-renowned speakers, 400 attendees and dozens of workshops and panels, the 17th Annual Diabetes University concluded Saturday as one of the largest in the Diabetes Association of Atlanta’s history.
The event, which took place during National Diabetes Awareness Month, was designed to provide an affordable and accessible day of up-to-date diabetes education. It featured expert and policy leaders from organizations including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Emory University, the University of Georgia, the American Diabetes Association and the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians GO! Diabetes initiative.
“This year’s Diabetes University was an incredible success thanks to all of those willing to join together to provide guidance and education to all Georgians about living with diabetes,” said Carol Johnson Davis, Executive Director for DAA. “This event continues to be one of the most unique of its kind in that it offers classes for everyone, ranging from those learning the basics about diabetes all the way to medical professionals.”
The luncheon sessions focused on the recently passed health care reform legislation with sessions entitled, “What you Need to Know” and “Health Information Technology and its Impact on Chronic Disease Management.” Speakers included U.S. Health and Human Services Regional Director Anton Gunn, Georgia Academy of Family Physicians GO! Diabetes Lead Faculty Dr. Saria Carter Saccocio and American Diabetes Association Southeast Advocacy Director Randi Greene-Chapman.
“HHS has made a $32 million investment in the state of Georgia to provide widespread use of health information technologies,” said Gunn. “Technology can put the information that doctors and patients need at their fingertips quickly so they make the most informed decisions and receive the best care possible.”
Attendees had the opportunity to participate in a number of classes, seminars and panels that discussed a host of topics, such as “Building a Positive Relationship with Your Doctor” and “Shop Thrifty, Eat Healthy,” which examined ways to save money while still eating healthy during these difficult economic times.
With estimates that approximately 50 percent of people with diabetes suffer from nerve damage including Diabetes Peripheral Neuropathy, participants also learned through classes such as “I Would Exercise But …,” which discussed learning to exercise with physical limitations and “Diabetes Gets on My Nerves: An Overview of Neuropathy Prevention and Treatment.”
“These sessions should serve as a reminder that by taking proactive steps such as alerting one’s doctor when burning, shooting pain or numbness is detected, diabetic patients will live a healthier and more active life,” said Dr. Carter Saccocio. “The Diabetes Association of Atlanta is helping to pave the way through events like Diabetes University for everyone to learn more about this condition that is Georgia’s most common disease.”
Diabetes and Its Impact on Georgia
- In 2007, approximately 700,000 adults aged 18 years and older (10.1% of the Georgia adult population) had been diagnosed with diabetes.
- For every two persons with diabetes who have been diagnosed, another has not yet been diagnosed. Thus, approximately 350,000 additional adult Georgians are estimated to have undiagnosed diabetes, either type 1 or type 2.
- In 2006, diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death, killing 1,626 Georgians, equivalent to about 5 deaths every day.
- In 2006, the overall age-adjusted death rate per 100,000 population was 20.2. The rate was 1.3 times higher in men (23.3) than in women (17.8). It was also 2.3 times higher among blacks (36.4) than among whites (16.1).
- In Georgia, the cost of diabetes due to medical care, lost productivity and premature death is estimated to be over $5.1 billion per year.
- The health care cost for a person with diabetes is approximately $11,744 per year compared with $5,095 per year for a person of comparable age and sex without diabetes.