Award-Winning Actress S. Epatha Merkerson, Merck and the American Diabetes Association Challenge African Americans with Type 2 Diabetes to Get to Their A1C Goal

Merkerson Visits New Orleans on Oct. 9 as Part of America's Diabetes Challenge: Get to Your Goals Program

Oct 09, 2015, 08:00 ET from Merck from ,American Diabetes Association

KENILWORTH, N.J., Oct. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, the American Diabetes Association and actress S. Epatha Merkerson are bringing America's Diabetes Challenge: Get to Your Goals to New Orleans. The program is designed to help African Americans with type 2 diabetes work with their doctor to set and reach their A1C goal. A1C is a person's average blood glucose level over the past 2 to 3 months. The program also encourages African Americans to learn if they are at risk of low blood glucose and how to help reduce that risk.

 

In Louisiana, nearly 11 percent of the adult population has been diagnosed with diabetes and African Americans are also more likely than other ethnic groups to experience serious long-term health problems over time from the disease. During her visit to New Orleans, Merkerson will attend the Association's Live Empowered event at the Redemption Restaurant on Oct. 9 to share her story and to help people living with diabetes learn about the importance of working with their doctor to establish their own A1C goal and develop a personalized diabetes management plan.

About one-third of adults living with diabetes are not at their A1C goal. The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes have an individualized A1C goal, which for many adults is less than 7 percent. Other people with diabetes may have a higher or lower A1C goal, so it is important to talk to your doctor about the goal that's right for you. People with diabetes should understand why blood glucose can sometimes go too low, known as hypoglycemia.  Low blood glucose can make people feel shaky, dizzy, sweaty, and sometimes faint. If left untreated, low blood glucose may lead to a seizure or loss of consciousness.

"I lost my father and grandmother to complications of type 2 diabetes, so I understand that high blood sugar levels over time can lead to serious health problems," says Merkerson. "I've also learned that it's important to understand why blood sugar can sometimes go too low. I'm excited to partner with Merck and the American Diabetes Association on America's Diabetes Challenge to raise awareness about proper blood sugar management."

Merkerson was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2003 after having her blood glucose tested at a health fair event and being urged to see her doctor. Despite a family history of the disease, Merkerson was unaware she had type 2 diabetes. After her diagnosis, Merkerson became serious about her health and worked with her doctor to establish her own A1C goal and develop a personalized diabetes management plan, which included diet, exercise and medication, to help her achieve her A1C goal. By sticking to that plan—and making changes with her doctor when necessary—Merkerson has kept her blood glucose under control.

"Achieving blood glucose control can be challenging for many people with type 2 diabetes. That's why America's Diabetes Challenge offers tools to help patients manage both high and low blood glucose," says Dr. Robin S. Goland, M.D., Co-Director; Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University Medical Center. "Some diabetes medications can cause low blood glucose, particularly if patients skip meals, change their diet, or increase their exercise, so it's important that you work with your doctor to determine if you're at risk for low blood glucose and how to help reduce that risk."

Diabetes is a significant concern in the African-American community, as approximately 13 percent of all African-American adults have been diagnosed with the disease. In fact, diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death in the African-American community.

"Recognizing that African Americans are at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association has created specific programming and resources to help them reach their treatment goals," said Treva Lincoln, Community Outreach Manager, New Orleans Chapter, American Diabetes Association. "Both the American Diabetes Association and Merck share a similar commitment to educating at-risk populations, and we're thrilled to include America's Diabetes Challenge in our New Orleans Live Empowered event to help the local community learn about the importance of being proactive in their diabetes management."

For more information about Merkerson's story and America's Diabetes Challenge, visit www.AmericasDiabetesChallenge.com. You can also join the America's Diabetes Challenge community by visiting Facebook.com/AmericasDiabetesChallenge.

About S. Epatha Merkerson
S. Epatha Merkerson is a celebrated film, stage and television actress known for her long-running role as Lieutenant Anita Van Buren in the television series Law & Order. Merkerson has won multiple awards, including an Emmy, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and NAACP Image Award for her work in Lackawanna Blues. Merkerson has also been nominated twice for a Tony Award and recently performed in the New York premiere of While I Yet Live, by Kinky Boots star Billy Porter. After working many years together on Law and Order, Ms. Merkerson is now reuniting with Executive Producer Dick Wolf on his new NBC series Chicago Med, premiering in November 2015.

About America's Diabetes Challenge: Get to Your Goals
America's Diabetes Challenge: Get to Your Goals is an educational program from Merck and the American Diabetes Association urging people with type 2 diabetes to work with their doctor to set and reach their individual A1C goal. The program also helps people with type 2 diabetes learn if they are at risk of low blood glucose and how to help reduce that risk. As part of Merck's partnership with the American Diabetes Association, and to further support the millions of Americans living with type 2 diabetes, America's Diabetes Challenge will be featured at American Diabetes Association EXPOs and Live Empowered and Feria de Salud events throughout the U.S. For more information about America's Diabetes Challenge, to make the pledge to work with your doctor to set and reach your own A1C goal or challenge loved ones to do the same, visit www.AmericasDiabetesChallenge.com. You can also join the America's Diabetes Challenge community by visiting Facebook.com/AmericasDiabetesChallenge.

About Type 2 Diabetes
Nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes, and 90% to 95% of these people have type 2 diabetes. When someone has type 2 diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin and/or the insulin that the body makes does not work properly. This causes blood glucose levels to become too high, and the body may also keep making glucose even though it does not need it. Once a person has type 2 diabetes, it does not go away, and high blood glucose levels over time can lead to serious health problems, such as heart disease and stroke.

About the American Diabetes Association
The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to Stop Diabetes and its consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. For the past 75 years, our mission has been to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit www.diabetes.org. Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.

About Merck
Today's Merck is a global health care leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

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Merck


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Treva Lincoln


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American Diabetes Association


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SOURCE Merck; American Diabetes Association



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