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Victoria gathers for Victorians meet to end diabetes (Video)

By Keldy Ortiz
Nov. 17, 2012 at 5:17 a.m.
Updated Nov. 18, 2012 at 5:18 a.m.


Ophelia Salinas just finished getting her blood sugar tested Saturday morning. Then she was referred to an optometrist.

Salinas, 54, said the referral was the result of a higher-than-normal blood sugar level. She also said Saturday's test was not the first time she has come close to the diabetic boundary. She said she is trying to do better to maintain her health.

"It's more now having a watchful eye and being more in control" of what to eat, Salinas said.

Salinas and others attended the second annual Stop Diabetes Day event, which was organized by the American Diabetes Association. The event featured educational talks from doctors, along with people getting tested for diabetes. John Griffin, immediate past chairman of the board of the American Diabetes Association, said the event was all he hoped it would be, as 40 people, including Salinas, got tested for diabetes.

"People trying to live better lives, that's what you want," said Griffin. "So many of Victoria's health care providers, optometrists and nurses help people with diabetes."

As one of Victoria's few endocrinologists in the area, Frederick Niegos looked forward to answering questions about diabetes, even those who had preconceived notions about the disease.

"You will be able to live a healthy life, but it takes more out of them, because you have to monitor it more," said Niegos. "Diabetes is controllable."

Some patients who came to the event had been controlling their diabetes for a while. Adam Gonzales learned he was diabetic five years ago. He said he was unaware what to do then.

"I didn't know anything about it," said Gonzales, who was waiting in line to get an A1C test, which is used to manage diabetes. "I'm more conscious now."

Gonzales said he tries to exercise as much as he can. Like Gonzales, Mickie Aguilar, 78, was learning as much information as possible. While Aguilar, who was a volunteer at the event, said the information she received Saturday was helpful, she wants to use what she learned to help someone closer to her.

"My brother is diabetic, and he don't know about it," Aguilar said. "I'm hoping with everything I learn, I can send some brochures so he can take care of himself."

Aguilar said she doesn't have diabetes and runs three times a week, running in excess of 21 miles each run.

Staying throughout the event, Tommy Joost, 61, said he was glad he attended. It was more than a year ago when he learned he was diabetic.

"It worried me at first," Joost said. "You need to monitor your sugar level really closely."

Through managing his care over time, Joost said he is no longer using pills to control diabetes.

"Since I've started exercising, I've been feeling a lot better," Joost said.

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