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Novant Health launches initiative to combat diabetes, hypertension, obesity

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    Novant Health will hold health screenings on Jan. 24 at a variety of locations in four states. Charlotte-area screenings are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Levine Senior Center in Matthews and Huntersville Family Fitness & Aquatics. For more information: www.novanthealth.org/wellness

    Carolinas HealthCare initiative: www.carolinashealthcare.org/diabetes



Novant Health has announced a year-long “community wellness initiative” to identify up to 500,000 people with the “triangular threat” of diabetes, hypertension and obesity in the hospital system’s four-state area.

On Jan. 24, the system will hold multiple health screening events across the region, offering consumers age 13 to 70 free hemoglobin A1c tests for diabetes as well as blood pressure screening and weight measurements.

“If you look at diabetes by itself, you’re really missing two-thirds of the triad that is so critically import for people to understand in trying to decrease heart disease, stroke and cancer,” said Dr. Ophelia Garmon-Brown, a family physician and senior vice president with Novant.

“There is no way we can help our population to be informed, educated and empowered by just focusing on one entity,” Garmon-Brown said. ““Sixty-nine percent of people who have diabetes also have hypertension. Many of these people are also overweight and obese.”

The 2014 initiative follows a quiet “search and rescue” mission launched by Novant in 2010, during which more than 200,000 inpatients at Novant hosptials were tested for diabetes. The system found more than 7,000 people who “had no clue they had diabetes” and were referred for subsequent treatment.

Garmon-Brown said those findings led to Novant’s decision to be “much more intentional about not just waiting for people to come to us. We are going to be more intentional about going to people.”

“Sixty-nine percent of people who have a first heart attack, 77 percent of people who have a first stroke and 74 percent of people with chronic heart failure have high blood pressure. And a significant number of these people do not even know they are hypertensive,” Garmon-Brown said. “We can’t wait for them to be coming to our emergency rooms. It’s just a different way we have to practice medicine.”

In November, Carolinas HealthCare System, the Charlotte-based public hospital system, also launched an initiative to identify and treat 10,000 people who have diabetes or are at risk for diabetes and get them treated in the next year. The project, in partnership with the YMCA of Greater Charlotte, identified diabetes and pre-diabetes as a “huge public health issue.”

Pre-diabetic is the medical term for being at high risk for developing diabetes. People with this condition score between 5.7 to 6.4 on the hemoglobin A1c test, a measure of the effectiveness of blood glucose control. Those with diabetes score above 6.4.

Garloch: 704-358-5078
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