People gather at Plattsburgh State, dressed in blue and standing in a circle, to raise awareness about diabetes.
PLATTSBURGH — Connor Sargeant learned he had diabetes at age five.
“It was difficult to deal with when I first got the news,” he said.
Suddenly, he had to take insulin and monitor himself, something that has continued throughout his life as he participates in sports.
“It is easier now because I have an insulin pump,” said Sargeant, who is now 13.
But even with what would be considered quality insurance coverage, there is still a monthly co-pay.
Recently, members of the community and those affected by diabetes and their families gathered in front of Plattsburgh State’s Hawkins Hall dressed in blue to join a human circle in honor of World Diabetes Day.
Later, at dusk, the building itself was illuminated in blue to raise awareness of diabetes.
Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar because the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced.
Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke and amputation.
World Diabetes Day is a global event that unites millions of people trying to get the word out about the dangers of diabetes in more than 160 countries.
“We want to help raise awareness of diabetes and the complications brought on by diabetes,” said Jill Folsom, an adjunct nursing faculty member at Plattsburgh State and a volunteer with the International Diabetes Federation. “A third of the Medicare budget goes to diabetes.”
Plattsburgh State’s nursing club sponsored the event.
“They see firsthand the number of patients fighting this disease as well as its debilitating complications during their clinical rotations both in the hospital and throughout the community,” Folsom said.
Alissa Shinder, a nursing student at Plattsburgh State, pointed out that the obesity rate is increasing and obesity is a major risk factor for developing diabetes.
“There is a high percentage of children being diagnosed with diabetes,” Shinder said.
The number of people living with diabetes has increased considerably over the past 30 years. In 1985, an estimated 30 million people worldwide had the disease. Today, that figure exceeds 300 million, according to the International Diabetes Foundation and World Health Organization.
There are three main types of diabetes.
Type 1 results from the body’s failure to produce insulin. Type 2 results from insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to use insulin properly, sometimes combined with an absolute insulin deficiency. The third form, gestational diabetes, occurs when pregnant women with a previous diagnosis of diabetes develop a high glucose level.
Sir Frederick Grant Banting was a Canadian medical scientist, doctor and Nobel Laureate and is noted as one of the main discoverers of insulin.
Meghan Ketcham, another nursing student at Plattsburgh State, said it is important to raise awareness about the disease.
“We need to further prevent something that is preventable,” she said.