The Houston Health Department will open a free diabetes center in Acres Homes, an underserved area where more than 18 percent of adults are living with the disease.
The opening of the department’s third Diabetes Awareness & Wellness Network (DAWN) center on Thursday coincides with the observance of November as National Diabetes Awareness Month.
The new center will provide free diabetes education, help people diagnosed or at risk of diabetes develop self-management skills, and other services to help reduce and prevent chronic disease.
It will receive support from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s Be Well Communities, a program that promotes wellness and cancer prevention to underserved communities in the Houston area. Be Well Acres Homes will provide educational services to the center.
“Expanding our services to another multi-service center shows the commitment to communities in need of more healthy living education and chronic illness management support,” said Elizabeth Appleton, DAWN’s chief nurse. “I know the community will benefit greatly.”
DAWN also offers services at the Third Ward and Denver Harbor Multi-Service Centers.
Classes offered at the centers include nutrition, fitness, prediabetes prevention, and chronic disease self-management. The staff includes nurses, registered dieticians, fitness trainers, certified medical assistants, public health educators, counselors, and certified diabetes educators.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that over 37 million people had diabetes in 2019, and over 8 million adults had diabetes and never knew it.
Diabetes disproportionately affects minorities, the elderly, and diagnoses are expected to continue rising as minority populations grow in the country.
The disease can affect most of the organs in the body and is a frequent cause of end-stage renal disease, lower-extremity amputation, and a leading cause of blindness among adults. People living with diabetes are also at an increased risk for heart disease, neuropathy, and stroke.
A healthy diet, regular physical activity and taking medications as prescribed help prevent complications.
People with the chronic disease are encouraged to check blood sugar levels daily, keep blood pressure under control, and know cholesterol ranges.
For a list of diabetes education activities this month and information on locations, programs, and services, call 832-393-4055 or visit HoustonHealth.org.