Diabetes screening helps people know their status

Mar. 26, 2013 @ 07:41 PM

Sixty-four-year-old Thad Hodge was relieved Tuesday to learn that he doesn’t have diabetes.

Hodge attended Alert Day – a free screening for diabetes held on the American Tobacco Campus lawn near the YMCA.

The event, sponsored by the Durham Diabetes Coalition and American Diabetes Association, was designed to help Durham residents measure their risk for Type 2 diabetes.

Hodge, a former Durham resident now living in Creedmoor, said his blood test came back normal.

“It always feels good to know that things are where you thought they were,” said Hodge, who undergoes diabetes screening every two years.

A main reason he came to Tuesday’s event was to support his wife, Lois Hodge, who has been diabetic since 2009.

Lois, 57, said she’s lost 15 pounds in the past four years and hopes eventually to get off medication.

“I’m really working hard at it,” she said. “I’m getting there.”

She credits eating more fruits and vegetables and exercising five times a week for her improved health.

“Sometimes, like when I’m on a cruise, I overdo it,” she said. “But other than that, my doctor is proud of the progress I’ve made.”

Hodge said she came to the event to learn more about the disease.

“I’m always trying to educate myself,” she said. “The more you know, the better.”

Nancy Ross, 68, helped herself to free strawberries and pineapple as she waited to be screened.

Ross said her mother has diabetes, and she hopes to avoid going that route.

“I find that you have to help yourself with your diet,” she said. “I don’t fry foods no more. I mostly bake my foods, like chicken and fish. And I don’t use salt. I’ve changed my eating habits, and I feel much better.”

Lisa Pullen Davis, senior project manager for the Durham Diabetes Coalition, said Tuesday’s screenings – which were held in several other locations in Durham – were designed to raise awareness of the disease and encourage people to be tested.

“Diabetes is a serious problem,” she said. “But if you identify that you have it, there are so many resources we can connect you to, and you will be able to live a happy, healthy life.”

The Durham Diabetes Coalition has a clinical team of health professionals that plans to start visiting homes of high-risk diabetes patients, according to Marissa Mortiboy with the coalition.

She said the team “will address their needs – not just medical needs, but also their social needs if they require community resources.”

A doctor’s referral is required for the visits.

For information, call 919-560-7110 or go online to durhamdiabetescoalition.org.