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St. Jacobs health fair takes aim at worrying spread of diabetes

Oftentimes we go through our days feeling tired. Sometimes we have periods of dry skin in the winter. At times, it will feel as though our hunger or thirst is fluctuating over the course of the day. But how do we know if these things we are feeling are normal, or are symptoms of a bigger problem, such as Type 2 diabetes, which might manifest itself in any of these ways?

According to a report from the Canadian Diabetes Association, more than two million Canadians are afflicted with diabetes, half of those being Ontarians. And the rate is increasing, in part due to factors such as the aging population and a rise in the rate of obesity.

On Nov. 7, the fourth annual diabetes fair is being offered by Woolwich Community Health Centre, the Elmira Health Centre and Centre for Family Medicine. The event will be held at Calvary United Church, St. Jacobs from 9:30 a.m. to noon. The theme of this year’s fair is foot health and diabetes self-management.

According to officials at the Woolwich Community Health Centre, diabetics are more susceptible to foot problems as the disease affects the circulation and immune systems, which in turn impair the body’s ability to heal itself, so organizers felt that foot health was a necessary topic to address.

“It is important to hold diabetes events as knowledge is the best management,” said Randi Garcha, a spokesperson for the Canadian Diabetes Association. “Understanding diabetes is critical to effective self-management and healthy outcomes and we encourage individuals in the community to come out to these events and take advantage of the valuable resources available.”

There are three main types of diabetes. Type 1, usually diagnosed in children and adolescents, occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin and is found in about 10 per cent of diabetes cases in Ontario. Type 2 occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body does not effectively use the insulin that is produced and accounts for the other 90 per cent of diabetes cases.

Gestational diabetes is a temporary condition that occurs during pregnancy.

The association says persons over the age of 40 are at risk for Type 2 diabetes and recommends they be tested at least every three years by a doctor.

It is sometimes necessary to test more often, such as when a person has a parent, brother or sister with diabetes or health complications that are associated with the disease, including impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose, high blood pressure or high cholesterol or other fats in the blood.

At this year’s fair, there will be a variety of interactive booths covering topics such as foot health, nutrition, physical activity, primary health care, medications, and community support services.

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