For the diabetes community the real Super Bowl comes in March. That’s when the national Diabetes Expo takes place.
As a first-time attendee, the sheer enormity of this year’s expo at the Jacob Javitz Convention Center in New York City was a bit overwhelming.
80+ Exhibitors at Free Public Event
Not enough to spike my blood sugar, I don’t think. But it purportedly played host to over 80 exhibitors you’d expect to see at such an event. Numerous booths from a variety of sponsors lined every makeshift aisle of the huge space set aside to accommodate the American Diabetes Association’s free public informational day on March 15.
Various activities were offered, including cooking demonstrations, diabetes-related health exams, and companies and distributors with lots of giveaways! Naturally, a majority of the services were geared to management of Type 2 diabetes, which is brought on by lifestyle, not Type 1 that’s hereditary and incurable.
Tri-state Medical Professionals among Experts
But for someone like myself who doesn’t have the condition, and is interested in prevention, it wasn’t easy navigating through the sea of exhibition tables that didn’t specifically apply to me. However, amid the participating local and tri-state area medical professionals, I found someone very knowledgeable in the “Ask the Experts” section: Dr. Kathleen Cuddihy.
Dr. Cuddihy was very personable and informative, and supplied precisely the information I was looking for. Speaking with her made it well worth attending, as the medical insight she provided was immensely useful to either diabetics or non-diabetics. In regard to the perceived emphasis on maintenance, she concurred that there needs to be more information on prevention.
The medical testing procedures were conducted in an area sectioned at the farthest end of the room. So, I didn’t get the finger prick test for my glucose levels. Although after answering a short questionnaire, and getting my vitals checked, I was informed that I did not fall into any of the ‘risk’ categories. That was pretty good news, considering my vices of choice are the occasional chocolate cupcake or sugary danish, which I guiltily divulged to the friendly screener.
How Does Your Doctor Diagnose Type 2 Diabetes?
Ah…what to do next was the biggest challenge once I’d been cleared. So, I continued to weave my way about the crowded floor trying to read the programming schedule and map I’d been handed upon entering. The problem was many of them overlapped during the full day that started at 10 am and ended at 4 pm.
I then waited patiently to take a picture (that never came out) with Iron Man (though, I doubt film franchise star Robert Downey Jr. was underneath the superhero costume); watched a couple of cooking demos by chefs preparing multi-ethnic dishes (for which I discovered after sitting down that you needed to have gotten there at the beginning and received a ticket for the samples they passed out; participated in/or viewed a few dance and exercise classes in some of the interactive zones designated for children and adults; and sat in on two interesting panel discussions.
Statistically Based Panel Discussion a Highpoint
One in particular titled “the Changing Faces of Diabetes,” was the most pertinent as it underscored statistics for NYers with the ailment, and was another highpoint. The panelists focused on several key points and astounding numbers, such as the startling fact that diabetes was growing among teens.
NYC Dept. of Health & Mental Hygiene Deputy Commissioner Susan Kansagra, MD, cited that “one in 10 [people in NY] has it.” The commissioner then added that “650,000 [residents were] affected” and the number was up from four percent to 11 percent [in recent yeras].” She also noted the majority of those living in the South Bronx and certain neighborhoods in Brooklyn have the largest occurrences.
They responded to a range of pressing concerns from audience members pertaining to issues surrounding the topic. This empowering dialogue should have been at the top of everyone’s expo agenda. I learned a lot more than I knew coming in that morning, among the insightful takeaways was the fact that many minorities have a cultural belief system, which leads them to believe diabetes is imminent.
Find an Upcoming Free Diabetes Expo in Your City
In other words changing one’s mindset will in essence change cultural belief systems that because your grandmother or mother had it, so will you, which is when the chances of incurring the disease increases.
That’s good for everyone to know in order to reverse common attitudes toward offsetting it in its pre-stages and not waiting until the onset to deal with it.
See also by this Contributor:
Odyssey of an Undiagnosed Diagnosis