Savannah Resident Participates in National Diabetes Program


Garland Stephens
Garland Stephens

Circle of Champions is a national diabetes awareness campaign designed to encourage people living with diabetes to strive for optimal blood sugar control.

Diabetes Champions from all across the country are partnering with sanofi-aventis U.S., a world leader in diabetes care, to encourage people living with diabetes to get serious about managing their blood sugar levels.

Savannah resident Garland Stevens was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in August, 2003. As a “patient mentor” Garland provides motivation and support by encouraging people with diabetes to strive for optimal blood sugar control.

When Stephens was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in August, 2003, he was sad and disappointed. He knew he would not be able to continue with his naval career, but Garland did not want to let managing his disease get in the way of continuing to do the other things he enjoyed.

Immediately following his initial diagnosis, Garland began to focus on managing his diabetes, which included healthy meal planning, physical activity, taking an oral diabetes medication, and using LANTUS®.Within three months, Garland saw his A1C level drop. His A1C remains under control and his morning blood sugar readings are consistently within recommended range. Garland truly enjoys sharing his diabetes success story.

“Being a patient mentor is important to me because it allows me to direct my message to other people who are struggling with their diabetes. The more people know about diabetes, the more likely they are to manage it and I’m glad to do what I can to help them.” The Champions’ message of awareness and empowerment is particularly important in the South, because statistics indicate that diabetes is more common in Southern states (see map of the “Diabetes Belt” below).

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce enough and/or properly use insulin, a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into the cells of the body for energy. Diabetes may be related to genetics and to environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise.

There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 Diabetes, which may be caused by factors such as autoimmune disease, genetics and environment, accounts for five to 10 percent of all diabetes cases in the United States. Type 1 diabetes results from the body’s failure to produce insulin, the hormone that “unlocks” the cells of the body, allowing a sugar called glucose to enter and fuel them. Type 2 Diabetes, which is often associated with older age, obesity, family history of diabetes, impaired glucose metabolism, physical inactivity, and race/ethnicity, accounts for about 90 to 95 percent of all diabetes cases in the United States. Type 2 Diabetes results from insulin resistance (a condition in which the body fails to properly use insulin), combined with relative insulin deficiency. Most Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 2 Diabetes.

Additional information about the Circle of Champions program visit www.mydiabetescircle.com .

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