CHESTERTOWN — Diabetes rates for some Eastern Shore counties have been rising for several years and they now approach — and in some cases, exceed — 10%, a news release states.

Symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst or hunger, frequent urination, unintended weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, slow-healing sores, frequent infections and areas of darkened skin.

According to Trish Rosenberry, director of Clinical and Ambulatory Services at UM Shore Regional Health, the rising rate of diabetes is compounded by a lack of public awareness of the disease and its potential effects.

“More than 25% of people who have diabetes have no symptoms and therefore are undiagnosed, so they are unaware that they have the disease and may be experiencing damage to their vascular system, heart, eyes, kidneys and limbs,” Rosenberry said in the release. “At the Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology, our physicians, nurse practitioners and nurse educators encourage anyone who has symptoms to seek prompt medical attention. We are here to help with diagnosis, treatment and support.”

In observance of National Diabetes Awareness Month, University of Maryland Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology is offering free events during November in Easton for those interested in learning more about risk factors for diabetes and prediabetes, treatment and disease management.

“Food Shopping for Health,” a guided grocery store tour designed to teach those with diabetes or pre-diabetes how to shop and plan for meals that will promote optimal health, is set for 5:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 11, at Giant Food, 8993 Elliott Road, Easton.

Led by diabetes educator Karen Hollis, this tour is designed to show participants how to “shop smart” and select foods that will help them avoid complications, the release states.

“A diabetes diagnosis can seem overwhelming, but there are shopping strategies to help you plan menus and fill your cart with the right foods to maintain your best health,” said Hollis in the release. “We’ve done this tour a few years now and the participants always say they had fun while learning useful strategies for preparing healthy, tasty meals.”

The tour will be limited to 10 participants; to RSVP, call 410-822-1000, ext. 5188.

The Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology’s annual Diabetes Awareness Open House is scheduled from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15, in UM Shore Medical Center at Easton. The open house enables patients with diabetes or pre-diabetes to meet and talk with the center’s physicians, nurse practitioners and educators, and also with vendors offering diabetes care products, the release states.

The event, which is open to the public, also will include special presentations, including a healthy food prep demonstration, special topic talks by diabetes care providers and educators, games, vendor tables and light refreshments. Valet parking is available at the Outpatient Center Entrance on the south side of the hospital.

Interested community members also are welcome to attend Diabetes Support Group meetings held monthly in Cambridge, Denton and Easton. For meeting schedules and locations, call the UM Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology, 410-822-1000, ext. 5757.

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