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Latinos Manage Diabetes With Help From the Community
Date:3/2/2009

NEW YORK, March 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Chatting amongst a group of friends, Maria Manriquez smiles. She is taking control of her life and leaning on others for support. At the age of 62 she started experiencing thirst, frequent trips to the bathroom, unusual weight loss and blurred vision. She thought these were brought on by her hectic schedule -- common for a busy mother and grandmother. She was shocked when her trip to the doctor revealed that she had Type 2 Diabetes, a chronic disease that would require life-long treatment and management.

According to the American Diabetes Association, 10.4% of the U.S. Hispanic population, or 4.7 million U.S. Hispanics have diabetes (1), a percentage that far exceeds that of the country's general population.

Type 2 Diabetes, the most common form of the disease, occurs when either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells cannot use the insulin it does produce. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas (2), is necessary for many parts of the body to be able to use glucose (the main type of sugar in the blood[3]) for energy. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into the cells, it may, over time, damage the eyes, kidneys, nerves and heart (1).

Newly diagnosed diabetes patients are often overwhelmed. Initially, Ms. Manriquez withdrew and became depressed about her diagnosis, but through encouragement from friends and family she is learning to be proactive and take control of her diabetes. Her doctor provided information on nutrition and self-management but she also got involved in diabetes support groups at the local community center. The classes, sponsored by the Merck Journey for Control(TM) program and hosted locally by the Dallas Concilio of Hispanic Service Organizations, aim to improve patient outcomes by making diabetes self-management education culturally relevant, informative, and easy to understand. It employs U.S. Dia
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SOURCE Merck & Co., Inc.
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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