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NASSAU, BAHAMAS¬† — Hundreds of Bahamians are diagnosed with diabetes annually. Each year hundreds of patients undergo diabetes-related amputation in The Bahamas. Many diabetics progress to end-stage renal disease. Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness. The risk of stroke is 2 to 4 times higher in people with diabetes. Diabetes can lead to heart disease, severe forms of nerve diseases, dental problems, increased risk of infection, and complications in pregnancy.

The good news is that never before have there been so many options for controlling and even preventing diabetes.

With the intent to showcase some of these options ACE Diabetes will hold its first “Get On Track” Expo, on Saturday, November 23, 2013 from 10am to 4pm at the New Providence Community Center on Blake Road.

Free and open to the public, this exciting inaugural event will host educational sessions bringing together a variety of organizations within the community to present information about diabetes-related products and services that they provide. Workshop presenters include: doctors, certified diabetes educators, and healthcare professionals. The expo will feature “Ask The Experts” on managing diabetes and on prevention of diabetes, plus new technology and research. There will also be health screenings, food demonstrations, prizes and giveaways.

All aspects of diabetes and the prevention of diabetes will be covered. There will be healthcare professionals at allocated booths to educate people on eye care, dental care and kidneys, as well as a booth on Field to Fork, Back Yard Farming. Additionally, a yoga specialist and chiropractor will be available to educate people on relaxation techniques. From 11am-12pm a dance class will take place – “Zumba Dance for Diabetes”.

“Diabetes has become a national epidemic in the Bahamas. Most people have a family member or a friend with diabetes,” said Nurse Anita Cates, one of the founders of ACE Diabetes and an organizer of the “Get On Track” Expo.

“It is unfortunate that we are seeing many younger people being diagnosed with diabetes. It’s important for people to know that this disease can be prevented. For those who have developed diabetes it is important to know how to control the complications that can diminish quality of life. This Expo will present ways to prevent and manage pre-diabetes and diabetes.”

Health care experts and statisticians have estimated that 50 to 60 percent of Bahamians will develop diabetes.

Dr. Graham Cates of Family Medicine Center said, “Diabetes is a disease with multifaceted causes and no known cure. Once you are diagnosed with diabetes, you have it for life, but it can be controlled. Diabetes can also be prevented and these are the two aspects the “Get On Track” Expo will focus on.”

The expo identifies two educational tracks. The first track is Prevention, designed for people who are at risk of developing diabetes. The focus of this track will be on taking steps to reduce risk of diabetes and the prevention of diabetes.

The second track, Protection, is for those who have diabetes and need to protect against complications. These participants will be shown how to take control of their diabetes.

“ACE Diabetes was established in 2012 to address the overwhelming need in The Bahamas for diabetes awareness and the challenge of managing diabetes on a daily basis,” Nurse Cates said.

“We want to encourage a sense of empowerment, we want people to leave the expo believing that they can take control of their health and knowing the steps to take. Diabetes takes away control and leaves you dependent on others. Through the “Get On Track” Expo we aim to educate people on how to get back in control… how to get back on track… with their health and lives.”

The “Get On Track” Expo is free and open to the public.¬†¬† It will be held on Saturday November 23rd from 10:00am to 4:00pm at The New Providence Community Center on Blake Road. For more information visit www.acediabetes.org or call 327-2878.

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