April 30, a Saturday, the American Diabetes Association is hosting a free community event called New York EXPO that’s open to the public. Presented by the organization Healthfirst, the goal of the expo is to raise awareness of diabetes prevention and will include health screenings and cooking demonstrations.
The event will take place in the North Wing of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan and will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, more than 675,000 people are living with diabetes in the five boroughs, with African-Americans having the highest rates of diabetes-related deaths among racial groups (12.7 percent in New York’s Black community alone).
The American Diabetes Association numbers reveal that, nationally, 13.2 percent of all African-Americans age 20 or older have diagnosed diabetes and are 1.7 times more likely to have diabetes as non-Hispanic whites. African-Americans are also more likely to experience long-term complications of diabetes, including blindness, kidney disease and amputations, and are more likely to have higher HbA1C levels than other ethnic groups.
Last week, the AmNews spoke with Healthfirst Vice President and Medical Director Dr. Susan Beane about the expo and what potential attendees can look for.
“The expo allows people to access information through various media,”said Beane. “The expo is trying to dive a little deeper into the impact. People will have the opportunity to have real-time testing of blood pressure and blood sugar. People can learn about food and see the cooking of the food themselves along with exercise activities.”
During the conversation, Beane pushed the fact that everyone needs a primary care provider and needs to check in with that provider on a regular basis. According to Beane, regular conversations and checkups will create confidence.
“Sometimes, comfort level grows as they understand their illness and share in making good decisions for themselves,” said Beane. “Have a primary care provider and be comfortable in talking with that PCP and other health care providers if necessary.”
The expo focuses not only on type 2 diabetes but also on type 1 diabetes. Beane gave an example of what type 1 diabetics have to deal with.
“Those who are living with type 1, there are so many steps that need to be taken immediately,” said Beane. “Type 1 diabetics are immediately faced with insulin replacement, diet, exercise and how it impacts diabetes. Meals to meals. Moment to moment. There are a lot of choices and decisions to be made.”
So what is the number one goal of the expo?
“Number one is that everyone needs to know and understand what diabetes means,” said Beane. “We talk about the number of people who could be prediabetic. You have to know or understand what causes diabetes.”
People can find out how to prevent, assess or live with diabetes in a week.