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Latinos Manage Diabetes With Help From the Community

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. Diabetes Conversation Map(R) Tools, created by Healthy Interactions in collaboration with the American Diabetes Association, specially designed for small group education.

The second patient education session Ms. Manriquez has recently attended, entitled "Diabetes and Healthy Eating," provides encouragement and arms her with practical information that can help her make better choices for her and her family. "These classes have taught me valuable information about how to manage my diabetes. They are easy to fit into my schedule and I enjoy the community center aspect of them as well. In this session I learned that eating more fruits and vegetables, eating less red meat, and watching portion sizes can help me better manage my diabetes," she says.

Silvia Gallegos, Director of Health Education at the Dallas Concilio of Hispanic Service Organizations is an advocate of ongoing diabetes education. "Diabetes is a complicated, progressive medical condition that requires significant ongoing education, more than what can be provided in a routine office visit. Ongoing education and diabetes self-management through those in the community is critical to improved patient outcomes," she says.

Merck & Co. is championing the cause for Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) through a grassroots program targeted at Hispanic communities across the U.S. The program was created to improve self-management through an interactive, participatory curriculum that brings together health care professionals in conjunction with community organizations and Spanish-speaking people with diabetes and their caregivers.

To learn more about Merck's educational efforts visit


About Merck

Merck & Co., Inc. is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company dedicated to putting patients first. Established in 1891, Merck currently discovers, develops, manufactures and markets vaccines and medicines to address unmet medical needs. The Company devotes extensive efforts to increase access to medicines through far-reaching programs that not only donate Merck medicines but help deliver them to the people who need them. Merck also publishes unbiased health information as a not-for-profit service. For more information, visit

Forward-Looking Statement

This press release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on management's current expectations and involve risks and uncertainties, which may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in the statements. The forward-looking statements may include statements regarding product development, product potential or financial performance. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed and actual results may differ materially from those projected. Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect Merck's business, particularly those mentioned in the risk factors and cautionary statements in Item 1A of Merck's Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2007, and in any risk factors or cautionary statements contained in the Company's periodic reports on Form 10-Q or current reports on Form 8-K, which the Company incorporates by reference.

SOURCE Merck & Co., Inc.
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