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Release: April 9, 2001

Public invited to UI Health Care Diabetes Day

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- People with diabetes and their families who want to learn more about the latest in diabetes research and treatment are invited to attend a free, half-day conference Saturday morning, April 28, at the Clarion/Hampton Inn at 1200 1st Ave. in Coralville. Participants should register by April 25 to reserve a space.

University of Iowa Health Care experts in diabetes will cover topics including an update on diabetes, what people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes need to know about managing their condition, research in islet cell transplant, improving blood sugar control and understanding new concepts in how we regulate our weight.

The program will begin at 7 a.m. with registration and time to visit displays. The welcome and introduction will begin at 7:50 a.m. The entire program will wrap up by noon.

The conference is organized by Robert Spanheimer, M.D., UI associate professor of internal medicine and a staff physician at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Iowa City. Spanheimer's talk will address the current diabetes epidemic.

As many as 16 million Americans have diabetes, and one-third to half do not know they have the condition.

"We saw a large increase in the number of patients with diabetes, particularly type 2, in the 1990s," Spanheimer said. "Diabetes cases have increased by 17 percent in the last decade, and we expect the number of cases to double in the next 20 years."

People with diabetes either do not make insulin, or the insulin they make does not work the way it should to help glucose enter cells and provide energy. As a result, people with diabetes can have too much glucose in their blood. Chronically elevated blood glucose can damage blood vessels and cause serious complications leading to blindness, kidney disease, lower limb amputation, and stroke or heart disease.

For more information or to register, call UI Health Access at (319) 384-8442 or toll-free at (800) 777-8442, or call Aandra at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center at (319) 338-0581, extension 7630.

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.