Once again, diabetes is at the forefront of my thoughts. Some of you may know that in 2016, I lost my dad to complications from diabetes, and now my husband has been put in the at-risk category.
Along with a reminder to myself, I would like to share again some statistics and services our Tribe provides to help those affected manage their disease.
In response to the diabetes epidemic in American Indians and Alaska Natives, Congress established the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) through the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. The program is a coordinated effort to prevent amputation, kidney failure, blindness and heart disease in patients with diabetes.
Patients age 18 or older can enroll in Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Beginning Education About Diabetes (BEAD) classes. BEAD consists of five sessions that help empower you with knowledge of the disease and provide skills to manage it so that you can take control of your life.
According to a 2011 CDC fact sheet, the likelihood of American Indian and Alaska Native adults to have diagnosed diabetes is 16.1 percent, compared to non-Hispanic whites, which is 7.1 percent.
What’s more, a 2012 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Indian Health Service fact sheet shows Indigenous youth are nine times more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. American Indian and Alaska Native youth age 10-19 are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at a rate of 1.74 per 1,000, compared to non-Hispanic whites at 0.19 per 1,000.
These are some impacts of diabetes when not managed properly:
• Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates about 2 to 4 times higher than adults without diabetes.
• The risk for stroke is 2 to 4 times higher among people with diabetes.
• Results from the Strong Heart Study suggest that the risk for cardiovascular disease in American Indian adults with diabetes may be 3 to 8 times higher than those without diabetes.
These impacts can be overcome if managed properly. Our Nation offers many services: nurses, dietitians and a physical activity specialist (this includes formulating exercise programs, patient education, including insulin introduction), eye exams, foot care and cooking demonstrations.
All these things are ways to assist patients in reducing their risk for diabetes. This program can be accessed by calling the CPN Wellness Center at 405-395-9304. Please encourage any Tribal member you know who is struggling with this disease to use the tools that are available to us.
I wish you all health and wellness. Thank you for the privilege of being one of your Oklahoma Legislative Representatives.
Legislator, District 13