More than 29 million people in America have diabetes, including the new immigrants who might not know they have the disease or how to treat it.
Special attention is being payed to diabetes in November because it marks American Diabetes Month.
Jericho Road Community Health Center, 184 Barton St., is one place immigrants can get help.
Registered dietitian Christine Fleming, who works for Jericho Road, says many people are unaware that they have the disease before coming to this country.
“Sometimes people will think they’re becoming sick with a new diagnosis,” she said. “Sometimes when finding out they have it, they’ll realize they’ve been having these symptoms for a long time and they just didn’t know their meaning.”
Fleming said there are two types of diabetes. Type 1 affects younger people and occurs when the body stops making insulin. They stop getting energy from the food they eat and their blood sugar spikes.
Type 2 diabetes is linked with people’s diets. Two things can happen Fleming said. The body can stop responding to insulin or could stop making as much insulin. It can be treated with lifestyle changes such as dieting and exercise.
Many immigrants come to America with different cultural foods that may not be healthy for them and can heighten their risk of diabetes
“What I try to do is teach them foods in their own culture and their own diet that they’ll be able to eat to help them have a balanced diet,” Fleming said. By Tony Callens and Benjamin Joe