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Release: March 25, 2002

Public invited to UI Health Care Diabetes Day

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 20, at the Iowa Memorial Union on the University of Iowa campus. Participants should register by April 12 to reserve a space. This program will be held in the IMU's Terrace Room.

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 7:15 a.m. with registration, a continental breakfast and time to visit diabetes education displays. The welcome and introduction will begin at 7:50 a.m. The entire program will wrap up by noon.

The program is organized by Robert Spanheimer, M.D., UI associate professor of internal medicine and a staff physician at the Veterans Affairs (VA) 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.

The seminar's other presenters and topics include:

Robert Bar, M.D., UI professor of internal medicine and a staff physician and researcher at the Iowa City VA Medical Center; "Diabetes Prevention Program – Is It Possible?"

Rhonda Barr, UI physical therapist and coordinator for the REACH (Reaching Euglycemia And Comprehensive Health) Program; "Exercise: Do I Have To?"

Greg Doelle, M.D., UI associate professor (clinical) of internal medicine; "The Role of Weight Management in Controlling Diabetes."

William Sivitz, M.D., UI professor of internal medicine and a staff physician and researcher at the Iowa City VA Medical Center; "What's Ahead in Diabetes?"

For more information, or to register, call UI Health Access at (319) 384-8442 or toll-free at (800) 777-8442.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine at the UI and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at