KENILWORTH, N.J., July 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, the American Diabetes Association and celebrity chef and cookbook author Leticia Moreinos Schwartz are bringing Desafiando La Diabetes: Logra Tus Metas to Chicago. The program is designed to encourage Hispanics living with type 2 diabetes to know their A1C—their average blood glucose level over the past two to three months—and work with their doctor to set and reach their A1C goal. Through the program, Hispanics living with type 2 diabetes can also learn if they are at risk of low blood glucose, known as hypoglycemia, and how to help reduce that risk.
In Illinois, nearly 9 percent of the adult population has been diagnosed with diabetes and it is a significant concern among Hispanic adults, as they are nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as non-Hispanic white adults. During her visit to Chicago with the Association, Chef Leticia, who has a family history of type 2 diabetes and lost her grandfather to complications of the disease, will attend the Pilsen Neighbors Community Council's Fiesta Del Sol event on July 31 at 1400 West Cermak Road, Chicago. During the event, she will share some of her favorite Hispanic/Latino diabetes-friendly recipes and encourage people to make a pledge to know their own A1C.
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 they talk to their doctor about the goal that's right for them. Adults with type 2 diabetes can help reduce their risk of serious complications by setting individual goals to help manage the ABCs of diabetes—A for A1C, also known as blood glucose, B for blood pressure and C for cholesterol.
"After living for years with type 2 diabetes, my grandfather passed away from a stroke, one of the serious complications of this disease. His passing prompted my entire family to reevaluate our lifestyle," said Chef Leticia. "Now, I know how important it is for people with diabetes to know their A1C and make a commitment to work with their doctor to get to their A1C goal. I am proud to help empower Hispanics in Chicago – and around the country – to better manage their health."
Many people with type 2 diabetes are aware of the importance of controlling high blood glucose by diet, exercise, and taking medicine (if prescribed), but they may not understand why blood glucose can sometimes go too low. This is known as hypoglycemia and 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. Some diabetes medicines can cause low blood glucose, particularly if patients skip meals, change their diet, or increase their exercise.
"There is no one-size-fits-all approach to diabetes management and I find that many patients may not be having an open dialogue with their doctor around the risks of both high and low blood glucose and the importance of coming up with a proper treatment plan that fits their needs," said Samuel Arce, M.D., F.A.A.F.P, Association volunteer. "Programs like Desafiando La Diabetes are valuable for the Hispanic community, because they can be a first step in fueling necessary conversations that motivate patients to visit their doctor and take action."
Nearly 13 percent of U.S. Hispanic adults are already diagnosed with diabetes, one of the highest prevalence rates among ethnic groups in the country, and it is the fifth leading cause of death in the Hispanic community. In Chicago, the Hispanic community comprises 28.9 percent of the overall population.
"We are excited to collaborate with Merck and Chef Leticia to reach Hispanics living with diabetes, a community particularly at risk for this serious disease, by bringing Desafiando La Diabetes to Fiesta del Sol," said Jeanette Flom, Executive Director of the Chicago/Northern Illinois area for the American Diabetes Association. "The American Diabetes Association is committed to raising awareness of diabetes and providing relevant resources for people with the condition to help them get to their treatment goals. This program is providing important information for Hispanics living with type 2 diabetes, as well as their friends and family."
For more information about Chef Leticia and Desafiando La Diabetes, and to download Hispanic/Latino diabetes-friendly recipes, visit www.DesafiandoLaDiabetes.com. You can also join the America's Diabetes Challenge community by visiting Facebook.com/AmericasDiabetesChallenge.
About Chef Leticia Moreinos Schwartz
Chef Leticia Moreinos Schwartz is a chef, cookbook author, teacher, and food stylist with expertise in Hispanic and Latino cuisine. Diabetes is a topic that is very close to her heart, which is why Chef Leticia is partnering with Merck on Desafiando La Diabetes: Logra Tus Metas to challenge Hispanics with type 2 diabetes to know their A1C and to work with their doctor to set and reach their A1C goal.
About Type 2 Diabetes
Nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes, and 90 to 95 percent 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.
Today's Merck is a global healthcare 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 consumer care 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 healthcare 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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Kristen Drake Merck (908) 236-4223
Samantha Boyd American Diabetes Association (703) 549-1500 ext. 2139