CONTACT: BECKY SOGLIN
2130 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-6660; fax (319) 335-8034
Release: Nov. 22, 1999
UI offers free diabetes screenings
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Diabetes affects more than 16 million
Americans, yet one-third are unaware that they have the condition. Nearly
20 million other individuals have impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), which
can lead to diabetes. However, area residents with one or more diabetes risk
factors can take advantage of a new University of Iowa Health Care service
that offers free screenings for the disease and its potential precursor, IGT.
The clinic is open Monday through Friday mornings at
the UI Hospital and Clinics. People with risk factors can schedule a screening
by calling UI Health Access at 384-8442 or
1-800-777-8442. Risk factors include being overweight;
having a family member with diabetes; having diabetes during a pregnancy or
a baby who weighed more than nine pounds at birth; having known high blood
pressure or high cholesterol; and being of native American, African American
or Hispanic descent.
The screening includes fasting blood sugar and cholesterol
tests. Diabetes testing is not usually part of a regular physical exam, said
Rhonda Barr, a UI physical therapist who helps create diabetes intervention
and management programs.
"People may not have symptoms of diabetes, but it's important
to be tested for the disease instead of waiting for signs," Barr said. "We
strongly encourage those with risk factors to sign up for a screening."
Robert S. Bar, M.D., UI professor of internal medicine
and division director of endocrinology-metabolism, emphasized that early intervention
can prevent or delay diabetes.
"People with impaired glucose tolerance have high blood
sugar, but not high enough to diagnose diabetes," Bar said. "However, people
with the condition have a 50 percent chance of developing diabetes within
10 years. Anything we can do to make people more aware of their health and
help delay or prevent the onset of diabetes is very important."
Bar directs the Veterans Affairs / Juvenile Diabetes Foundation
Research Center, and the National Institutes of Health Diabetes and Endocrinology
Research Center at the UI. He is also a staff physician and researcher at
the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Iowa City.
Bar noted that diabetes can often be controlled through
medication, diet and exercise. If the disease goes untreated or is inadequately
controlled, many people experience complications including heart disease,
blindness, kidney failure and infections.
Americans are at increased risk for diabetes due to widespread
inactivity and weight gain. A 1998 report by the National Institute of Diabetes
and Digestive and Kidney Diseases showed that diabetes rates for men and women
are about the same. However, the rates for non-Hispanic blacks and Mexican-Americans
were respectively 1.6 and 1.9 times the rate for non-Hispanic whites.
University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership
between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the
patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.