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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 12 November 2008

The National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women (NOBEL/Women) and its 2008 national president, Oregon State Senator Margaret Carter, are hosting an educational symposium called "Living Without My Sugar!" Diabetes and the Heart, Friday, Nov. 14 from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Embassy Suites, 319 SW Pine St.
The group also plans a NOBEL/Women Community Fellowship Reception on Thursday, Nov. 13, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., also at Embassy Suites. All the events are free and open to the public.
NOBEL/Women from across the U.S. will join the Oregon healthcare community to highlight and discuss the devastating effects of diabetes and heart disease on communities of color, and encourage action at every level, from local communities to national policy. For a complete schedule of events and list of participants, please visit www.nobelwomenoregon.org.
In addition, the Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation is providing Oregonians with free diabetes screenings through its Mobile Health Screening Unit, this Saturday, Nov. 15 at St. Philip the Deacon Episcopal Church, at 120 NE Knott St., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation is the only private nonprofit in the state that offers free statewide health checks through their Mobile Health Screening Unit Program.
This year-round program provides statewide screenings and since its inception in 1994 has screened more than 300,000 adults and children, identifying an excess of 126,000 potential health problems. 
Diabetes risk assessment is one of the six crucial health checks offered. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1 in 4 diabetics have not been diagnosed. At every MHSU community event where glucose testing is available, an average of 20 percent of people screened are discovered to have blood sugars high enough to indicate a potential diabetes risk. 
"The incidence of diabetes is almost epidemic but it is a silent disease and it isn't unusual to hospitalize individuals with a 'new' very high blood sugar," said Blanche Kobs, RN, at Parish Nurse of St. Anthony's Parish in Tigard during a recent MHSU Screening. "Checking blood glucose helps identify the individuals with diabetes early, but it also helps identify the prediabetics and with instruction and a new eating and exercise routine the onset of diabetes can be at least delayed or perhaps prevented."
"When our Lions leaders created the Oregon Lions Mobile Health Screening Program in 1994, they knew that diabetes testing would be an important component, potentially saving thousands of our neighbors from experiencing its devastating effects," said Brenda Anderson, programs manager at the Foundation. "Undiscovered and untreated diabetes wrecks havoc in the body's system, including vision and hearing.  The group serves everyone, even those without health insurance.
A 2007 study by the U.S. Census Bureau showed that over 600,00 Oregonians lack health care coverage, including 114,000 children. 
"Too many people are not getting health checks because they lack insurance," said Amber Kern, executive director of the Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation. "For many it's the difficult choice between going to a doctor or paying the heating bill."
Kern says, "Often we meet individuals who knew their eyesight was deteriorating or that they were at risk for diabetes but they didn't have insurance for confirmation.  When individuals screened by the MHSU lack follow-up funds, we offer assistance through the Local Lions Clubs and the Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation."
For more information call 800-635-4667.

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