Photo of Rep. Cooper (left) and Linda Lowey (president, GAADE, 2010) from
the proclamation signing

 

Georgia House Resolution 2031,
Georgia Diabetes Alert Day, May 20, 2010

The American Diabetes Association recognized American Diabetes Association Alert Day/DPN (Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy), at a briefing at Atlanta Medical Center on May 20, 2010.  Sybil Freemen, ADA Director of Corporate Development presented results of a survey conducted concerning diabetes peripheral neuropathy.  Also, a proclamation was read by Representative Sharon Cooper, Sponsor of Georgia House Resolution 2031; addressing the prevalence of diabetes and the severity of its possible complications. Physicians, hospital administrators, nurses, and dietitian were present along with Linda Lowey, President, Greater Atlanta Association of Diabetes Educators, and John Riley, Director, Georgia Diabetes Coalition. 

The ADA survey explored the prevalence and health impact of diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN), a form of nerve damage that may cause burning, throbbing or painful tingling in the feet or hands.  This survey revealed half of the 365 respondents were in pain the day of the survey, 30% of the patients scored positive for DPN even though they indicated that they did not have nerve pain, and an alarming 85% said pain associated with DPN had a debilitating impact on their quality of life.  In addition to reviewing the results of the survey, those present at the alert day briefing heard personal testimony by Representative Cooper about how diabetes has affected a member of her family. 

Mike Gault, Sr. Executive Director, American Diabetes Association, Atlanta/North Georgia Region, reports that “the prevalence of diabetes in Georgia has increased significantly over the last 10 years; more than 1 million people in Georgia have diabetes and 350,000 of them don’t know it.”  

It is estimated that 23.6 million people in the United States, or 7.8 percent of the population, are affected by diabetes.  In Georgia, the occurrence of diabetes is 19.3 percent higher than the national average, according to the Centers for Disease Control.  Additionally, 69.3 percent of Georgians with diabetes registered a high blood sugar value indicating that the disease is not well controlled.

“Since the most common cause of DPN is poorly controlled blood sugar levels that result in nerve damage over time, these early signs and symptoms may indicate that a patient’s disease is not under control and blood sugar levels are still elevated,” reports Dr. Mohammad Sharif, board certified podiatrist, Village Podiatry Centers in Atlanta.  “Untreated DPN can impair the ability to engage in physical activity and can ultimately lead to limb amputations.  It’s important for patients and providers to better understand the relationship between symptoms such as numbness and burning, often indicators of nerve damage, and overall disease management.”

The American Diabetes Association recommends people with diabetes follow “Four Strategies for Success” to manage their diabetes: