VRMC plans Diabetes awareness event Thursday

Valley Regional Medical Center will provide free screening services, snacks and door prizes during its annual diabetes awareness event this evening. The program will include a “Doc Talk” with neurologist Luis Gaitan on strokes and diabetes.

A Centers for Disease Control study estimates nearly 16 percent of Rio Grande Valley residents have diabetes, which is about twice the state average. November is National Diabetes Awareness Month.

Staff at the hospital’s Diabetes Management Center said one of the biggest factors for patients who successfully make healthy lifestyle changes is having the support of their families. The center provides free services to the public that include help understanding the disease, glucose screenings and one-on-one nutritionist or nurse practitioner counseling.

“The most difficult thing to change is our family,” nutritionist Natalia Villarreal said, adding that some patients opt to bring their whole family to their appointments at the center. “The more people who come, the better to change our eating habits. Sometimes mom tries to change, but dad brings (junk food) into the house.”

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