Superior, WI (Northland's NewsCenter) - According to the Minnesota Health Department, diabetes ranks 6 out of 10 of the top ten causes of death in the state.
Earlier Saturday—at the Mariner Mall, in Superior—Northlanders were there to do something about it.
"I came 15 miles for this," said Poplar, WI resident Judy Ford, smiling.
The 30th annual Community Health Fair and Expo—sponsored by Senior Connections—highlighted area organizations and businesses that enhance the overall wellness of Northland citizens.
"We're offering free glucose, cholesterol, bone density screenings, as well as patient education on answering any medication questions that you might have," said 3rd year pharmacy student Jerron Boser.
And while it seemed every aspect of health was touched upon during the event, diabetes was definitely a hot topic.
"It's a serious concern. It leads to a lot of other complications, high morbidity and mortality, high health care costs. So, we try to really educate the public, get them informed, and try to raise awareness, " said Boser.
"Every time I come here, people say, 'hey, my doctor didn't tell me that." I had one lady say, 'you know, my doctor gave me this prescription drug called metaphormin, because he said it would help me lose weight,' not telling her that it was actually for diabetes—he didn't tell her she was diabetic. I mean, just little things like that—how they learn about their health, and how they can improve it," said Pharmacist and step aerobics instructor Justine Preedit.
So, how do you help control such a widespread health concern?
The answer begins—simply enough—with the choice between walking and driving.
"There [are] people walking all over this mall. You'll see them doing circles, they walk here all the time, so that's a very easy way to do it. Any kin of daily life activity—shoveling, anything like that, cleaning—burns lots of calories," said Preedit.
"If your parents/grandparents have diabetes, you are more likely to have it. But, it is also diet and exercise–based. Improving your diet and exercise can greatly reduce your risk of diabetes," said Boser.
...simple lifestyle choices that can make the difference between life and death.
The Minnesota Health Department places the financial burden of diabetes cases at over 2—point 6—billion dollars.