Health department to offer diabetes, prediabetes testing for National Diabetes Month

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Southwest Utah Public Health Department is offering an 80% discount on A1C testing for diabetes and prediabetes through November.

Stock image, St. George News

Washington, Iron, Kane, Garfield or Beaver County residents over the age of 18 qualify for the $5 test, which the department is offering in honor of National Diabetes Month.

National Diabetes Month is meant to help inform the public about the growing prevalence of diabetes and encourage people to get tested. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25% of people with diabetes, and 90% of people with prediabetes, are unaware of their condition.

Diabetes affects the body’s ability to produce and use insulin, which is a hormone that allows the body to turn glucose — commonly known as sugar — into energy. Early symptoms include visual disturbances, extreme thirst, sweet-smelling breath, excessive urination and fatigue or lethargy, according to the CDC.

There are two types of diabetes, aptly named Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes is classified as an immune system disorder and involves the immune system attacking the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, which interferes with the body’s ability to create the hormone. Most diagnoses of Type 1 diabetes are made in children and young adults.

Type 2 diabetes is most common in older individuals who have built up a resistance to insulin. In more recent years, the disease has been found in increasingly younger populations, which is reported to be a result of poor dietary and exercise habits.

Tyler Hansen, Intermountain Healthcare family practitioner, told St. George News in a previous interview that it is recommended that anyone over the age of 25 years be tested for prediabetes on an annual basis, adding that diabetes has become a “silent killer.”

When diabetes is left untreated, the disease can cause health complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney damage and nerve damage.

The A1C test involves a finger prick and results are given in a matter of minutes. One of three results can be expected from the test: normal, prediabetic or diabetic. No appointment is necessary, and the test is available at the SWUPHD from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. On Tuesdays, however, the clinic closes at 1 p.m.

SWUPHD is also offering a free community forum on how to “Navigate Diabetes in the Grocery Store” on Nov. 14 at 6 p.m.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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