Special to the E-T

Employees from Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital, soon to be Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville, will offer free glucose screenings and information on diabetes from 2 - 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 20, in front of Wal-Mart. The screening requires a prick of the finger and a tiny drop of blood to check the level of sugar, or glucose, in the blood. Screening results are available immediately and can then be taken to a physician for interpretation.

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), diabetes is the leading cause of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and amputation.

An estimated 23.6 million Americans have diabetes, including 5.7 million people who do not realize they have the disease, according to the ADA. Each year, 1.6 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed and 57 million Americans have pre-diabetes.

“Stephenville is no different from other communities regarding the rate of diabetes and people who are walking around undiagnosed, but affected by the disease,” said Laurie McGuyer, a clinical dietician at Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital. “Untreated, diabetes affects every part of a person’s body and can cause lasting damage without much warning from symptoms. That’s why getting tested at events such as this one can help individuals become more aware of simple steps they can take to improve their overall health.”

According to the American Diabetes Association, symptoms of diabetes include:

• Frequent urination;

• Excessive thirst;

• Extreme hunger;

• Unusual weight loss;

• Increased fatigue;

• Irritability; and

• Blurry vision.

An estimated $1 out of every $10 spent on health care is attributed to diabetes for an annual cost to in the United States of $174 billion each year, according to the ADA.

    Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital has an American Diabetes Association-recognized program that teaches classes for individuals diagnosed with diabetes and pre-diabetes. The classes cover many topics such as meal planning, exercise, and long-term complications of diabetes. The hands-on classes are designed to give individuals the tools to manage the disease and lessen further complications.

“While being diagnosed with diabetes can be scary it does not mean that individuals must completely give up all foods they enjoy, such as sweets and carbohydrates,” McGuyer said. “Once a person learns about the disease it can be controlled through diet, exercise, planning and medication.”

For more information on diabetes, log on to www.diabetes.org. For more information on the Nov. 20 screening event or classes at Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital, please call 254-965-1581. No appointment is necessary for the Nov. 20th screening event.

About Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital

Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital, soon to be Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville, is a 98 - bed acute care, full-service facility serving Erath and surrounding counties since 1926. The hospital’s services include inpatient and outpatient surgery, women and infant care, advanced diagnostic imaging, inpatient and outpatient physical therapy and wound care.  Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital has been recognized as a Nurse-Friendly Hospital and a Level IV Trauma Center. For more information, please call 888-4HARRIS, or visit www.texashealth.org/.

About Texas Health Resources

Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served.  THR’s system of 13 hospitals includes Harris Methodist Hospitals, Arlington Memorial Hospital and Presbyterian Healthcare System, and a medical research organization.  THR is a corporate member or partner in six additional hospitals and surgery centers. For more information about Texas Health Resources, visit www.texashealth.org.