MCALLEN, Texas – Since being declared an epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1994, diabetes has remained a major public health problem throughout the world. 

That year, approximately 7.7 million Americans were diagnosed with diabetes. Nearly 30 years later, the estimated number of U.S. adults living with diabetes stands at 37.3 million, according to the CDC.

Even more concerning, the CDC reports that approximately 96 million people aged 18 years or older have pre-diabetes, a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.

Left untreated, diabetes can lead to serious health complications including heart disease, chronic kidney disease, nerve damage and other problems with oral health, feet, vision, hearing and mental health.

While diabetes can lead to other health problems, a press release from South Texas Health System (STHS) said, you can prevent or delay complications and improve your overall well-being by taking control of your health.

To help Valley residents take positive steps toward prioritizing their health and preventing diabetes in their families, STHS and Prominence Health Plan partnered up to host a free, all-day diabetes symposium for children on Friday, March 31. Held at the South Texas College Nursing and Allied Health Campus in McAllen, the symposium drew dozens of school children from PSJA and Mission ISDs.

“In addition to becoming better educated about diabetes and its impact on your overall health and well-being, there are two key lifestyle changes you can make to prevent type 2 diabetes or effectively manage the condition: eat well and be physically active,”  said Tom Castañeda, system director of marketing and public relations for South Texas Health System. “It’s never too early or too late to take charge of your health.”

At the event, the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service secured video interviews with two people who care passionately about defeating diabetes in South Texas: One was Dr. Ashley Bose, a family medicine physician and medical director and co-owner of Ashley Pediatrics and Industrial Health Works Clinics. The other was Veronica Gilligan, community relations representative of Prominence Health Plan.

Here are the video interviews:

Dr. Ashley Bose

Veronica Galligan

Editor’s Note: The above news story is the first in a two-part series on the STHS-Prominence “Prevent, Treat & Beat Diabetes Symposium.” Part Two will be posted later this week.

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