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Man Walking To Raise Awareness of DiabetesBy Joseph Wenzel IV , Press Staff
Posted: Monday, September 25, 2006
MIDDLETOWN - Andy Mandell has insulin dependent diabetes, but he is not letting that stop him. He wanted to inform people about Type 2 Diabetes, so he went for a walk.
Mandell is the executive of Defeat Diabetes Inc., which is a nonprofit charity that raises awareness about Diabetes.
Mandell plans to walk the perimeter of the United States.
"This journey is tough enough as it is," Mandell said about why he is walking and not running. He has completed more than 7,650 miles with the last leg of tour ahead of him. He has 10,000 miles to cover.
Every inch of that has been on foot," said Mandell, who runs everyday with an international orange vest.
He is referring to himself as Mr. Diabetes.
He said when he walks he uses that time to educate the public and share war stories of about his own battle with the disease. His grass roots campaign has him talking to everyone from civic organizations to everyday people to politicians.
The journey has given Mandell an inside to real issues of diabetes. He said Traditional wisdom is failing, something had to been done to draw attention to high risk factors. He said people can help themselves by controlling their diet and by exercising. He said 90 percent of diabetes type 2 is preventable, but there is a problem that still remains.
"There will be no cure in our life time," Mandell said.
Mandell said we can profile people that are more prone to diabetes.
Pacific islanders, Asian Americans, Native Americans are all more prone to diabetes. Babies born 9 lbs. or more have a higher risk and so does the mother. He added people with a genetic link, diabetes in your family, may be at risk.
"You should pay attention to the signs," Mandell said. He added diabetes may not show up for 8 to 10 years before symptoms show, but it can still cause damage without showing any symptoms. According to Mandell, the epidemic is affecting people as young as elementary school age.
Mandell added the disease is affecting people in ways they never thought of. It is the Medical leading cause of adult, blindness with 24,000 in the country and it is responsible 86,000- 100,000 amputations.
It is the Leading cause of kidney disease and it leads 1 to 4 times heart attack or a stroke. It cuts life expectancy by 10 to 20 years. The disease claims 215,000 deaths and according to Mandell, the numbers are going up. He said of the 21 million diabetes, 2/3 of them doesn't know they have the disease.
He said controlling the disease costs 130 -150 billion dollars a year. And it could bankrupt the medical system, if everyone who had diabetes was being treated. According to Mandell, there is even worse news. By 2025, 66 million will have diabetes.
But, Mr. Diabetes will keep on walking and educating people. Mandell said anyone who wants to join him could.
"Come out and walk with us," Mandell said. He added he is more than willing to answer any questions about the disease. But, Mandell said www.defeatdiabetes.org is a consistently being updated and has 2000 pages of information is located on the site. It will also give the dates and locations of where Mr. Diabetes is headed.
Mandell said the web site features a screening test. The screening test is the first step in learning if you have diabetes. The test takes a couple of minutes and it is accurate.
If at risk, you need to see endocrinologist, interior medical specialist. They recommend you take an A1c test, which is available at your doctor's office or a lab.
"It is 100% accurate," Mandell said. If a patient has diabetes, they will have to take the test every 3 months, to check their status.
However, Mandell reminds us that the fight is not over.
"This is a problem that will not go away," Mandell said. But, Maybe with a little help from Mr. Diabetes will learn to prevent it. And Mr. Diabetes will be able to take a break from walking.
To contact Joseph Wenzel IV, call him at (860) 347-3331 ext. 222 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: The Middletown Press
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