May 23, 2013

Conference confronts diabetes dangers

Conference confronts diabetes dangers
By Jerry W. Kram
More than 800 members of the MHA Nation are being treated for potentially devastating disease. That disease is diabetes, and it can be controlled or even prevented with proper lifestyle choices and treatment. If left untreated, it can cause nerve damage, blindness, organ failure and even require amputations because of the damage it causes to the body.
Getting tribal members to have a healthier lifestyle and to be screened for diabetes are two goals of the a conference held at the Four Bears Lodge on Tuesday, said Jared Eagle, Acting Director of the Fort Berthold Diabetes Program. The spring diabetes conference offered a variety of health checks, including blood sugar screening, blood pressure checks, foot exams and vaccinations. Eagle said the program is aimed at getting tribal members with diabetes into treatment.
“Our program is specifically set for diabetes care,” Eagle said. “We are run through the Elbowoods Health Center. We have over 800 patients that use our facility in Elbowoods.”
The Diabetes Program operates in all six segments of the Fort Berthold Reservation. Along with the clinic in New Town, the program holds monthly exams in the satellite clinics in each of the segments.
“Our program includes all segments,” Eagle said. “It also includes members who live off the reservation.”
The focus of the conference was on having a healthy lifestyle. The keynote of the conference was called my Healthy Native Plate, which is a program to help construct healthier meals. The speaker was John Finn, who is the programs new dietician.
“We want to introduce John and also go over some nutrition education,” Eagle said. “We haven’t had a nutritionist since August. That has been lacking for almost a year so that’s why we made nutrition the focus of this conference.”
“Native Plate is a concept used by the Indian Health Services,” Eagle explained. “Native Plate expands on a program that is called My Plate. We talk about foods that are associated with this area, the types of fruits, the types of vegetables that are more accessible in North Dakota and the Northern Plains.”

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