Today: Apr 21, 2024

Southern raises awareness for National diabetes Month

 CHRISTIAN CARRION — Staff Writer

Jason Hartloff, a graduate student at ITT Technical Institute, said diabetes is killing his father.

“He’s not well,” said Hartloff, who is the operations manager at The Nature Conservancy in Arlington, Va. “In 1986, he was given six months to live. Since then, he has gone blind, had over 200 laser eye surgeries, had 75 percent of his stomach removed and now has an average of two to three small strokes per day.”

Hartloff’s father’s case is not an isolated one. According to the American Diabetes Association, over 25 million children and adults in the United States are currently living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and another 79 million Americans are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The disease is characterized by a lack of insulin production in the body and abnormally high blood sugar and can lead to complications involving virtually every tissue of the body.

In 1982, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed November of each year to be National Diabetes Month, in a joint effort with the American Diabetes Association to raise awareness about this disease that presently kills more people each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined.

In recognition of this annual event, Southern’s Granoff Health and Wellness Center is providing students, faculty and staff with information on prevention methods, useful tips and ways of properly coping with diabetes. While the Health Center does not have statistics regarding the number of Southern students who have diabetes, Brigitte Stiles, associate director of the Health and Wellness Center, said this disease is a major priority for her and her staff.

“Presently, we offer educational and screening programs for diabetes,” Stiles said. “We also have a dietitian on staff who can assist diabetic students with their dietary needs, as well as the ability to do blood work to monitor lab tests for diabetics.”

Staying on a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, getting plenty of sleep, getting routine follow-up medical evaluations–these are all things that Stiles, a registered nurse, said are important for diabetics.

“We recommend the same things for students who are even at risk for diabetes,” Stiles said.

Kelsey Kosarko, a junior nursing major at Southern, found out last year that she was pre-type 2 diabetic.

“When I found out,” Kosarko said, “I was aggravated and upset. I didn’t want to inject myself with insulin because I have a great fear of needles.”

Kosarko said she was at risk for developing diabetes since the disease runs on her mother’s side of the family. Despite her initial anger at her diagnosis, she said she does make an effort to control the disease.

“I try to eat a lot more fruits and vegetables,” Kosarko said. “I feel like it’s harder to eat healthy at school, though. There aren’t many healthy options here.”

According to Kosarko, eating healthy on a college budget isn’t always the most realistic option.

“A salad costs $6,” Kosarko said, “but a hamburger costs $3. Of course, college students are going to pick the cheaper one.”

Overall, however, Kosarko said she’s happy with the way she maintains her health in the face of diabetes.

“I feel like it’s better for me,” Kosarko said. “I’m a bigger person, so I really need to eat healthier anyway. And if I get control of it now, it’ll be better for my future.”

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