For the third year in a row, the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) and Albuquerque Isotopes are teaming up to raise awareness of diabetes. Throw Diabetes a Curve will be held on Thursday night, May 16th, 2019 at the home game against the El Paso Chihuahuas. The game is scheduled to start at 6:35 p.m.
The NMDOH estimates more than 220,000 New Mexican adults have diabetes. Diabetes sometimes leads to serious complications like vision loss, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke, or amputation of a toe, foot, or leg. About eight out of ten adults with diabetes are aware of their condition. Additionally, an estimated 549,000 New Mexican adults have prediabetes, a condition that precedes type 2 diabetes in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal. Unfortunately, only about three out of ten New Mexican adults with prediabetes are aware of their condition. This lack of awareness means that people with prediabetes can’t get the knowledge and support they need to cut their high risk of developing type 2 diabetes in half.
For many people, it’s not always easy to talk about health. This may be especially true for men. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more men than women have diabetes that is undiagnosed. Research shows the number one reasons men don’t go to the doctor is because they don’t want to hear bad news. For this reason, men won’t get to hear the good news either: diabetes can be prevented or delayed, and if it develops can be effectively managed.
As part of the pre-game activities, the ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by 75-year-old Eli Follick from Albuquerque. Mr. Follick discovered he had diabetes three years ago and immediately began taking steps to improve his health. He participated in numerous self-management programs supported in partnership between the NMDOH Diabetes Prevention and Control Program and New Mexico State University Bernalillo County Extension Service. Through these free workshops, he was able to learn new skills to help him change his diet and habits, resulting in significant weight loss. He was successfully able to prevent his diagnosis of type 2 diabetes from keeping him benched. “I am a different, new person,” Mr. Follick said. “I have purpose — to be healthy, to have a good quality of life and to understand that today is the beginning, not the end.”
The event will also be promoting Paths to Health NM: Tools for Healthier Living, a statewide initiative which includes free prevention and self-management programs. These programs are designed to help adults gain the confidence and skills they need to better prevent or manage chronic health conditions, like diabetes. For more information about Paths to Health NM visit https://www.pathstohealthnm.org/
“We are thrilled to team up with the Albuquerque Isotopes once again for Throw Diabetes a Curve. Sporting events are a great opportunity to engage men and educate them about their health,” said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Kathy Kunkel. “It’s important that New Mexicans, including men, take advantage of some wonderful diabetes prevention and self-management education and support services available through the NMDOH.”
The first 3,000 fans at the game at Isotopes Park will receive an Isotopes team poster promoting Throw Diabetes a Curve and Paths to Health NM. Information about how to prevent or manage diabetes and how to enroll in programs will also be available at the NMDOH booth on the concourse.