Volunteers Test for Diabetes at Flea Market

Posted: Updated: Apr 08, 2016 06:45 PM

ALAMO — When it comes to diabetes, public health volunteers in the Rio Grande Valley said they need to be in the right place to get people informed.

Health volunteers have set up shop at an unlikely place. It’s housed at a place shared with snack food vendors and people trying to resell their old items.

At the Alamo Flea Market, volunteers have a small place to screen for diabetes.

The volunteers have set up shop at the flea market to target the uninsured. A third of the Valley is uninsured, and a third of the area also has diabetes.

Blanca Lemus took a few minutes to test herself for diabetes. She said she eats whatever she wants and isn’t on any diets.

Lemus said diabetes affects the people she knows. She said she wants to be healthy for her two babies.

Volunteers test people’s A1C by taking a small amount of blood from their finger. The test results show the last three months of a person’s blood sugar levels. That gives them an idea of how high their blood sugar is.

The A1C test results should be taken to a person’s general physician. The volunteers’ goal is to warn people if they’re at risk.

Diabetes can lead to kidney failure and dialysis. Dr. Brian Wickwire, with Nuestra Clinica Del Valle, said the cost of emergency dialysis is enormous.

“If we can prevent one case of kidney failure treated in the emergency rooms, we can test 14,000 people a year,” he said.

Every Sunday, Nuestra Clinica Del Valle volunteers bring awareness to about 30 people at the flea market by being at the right place at the right time.

Count on CHANNEL 5 NEWS to bring our viewers the very latest in diabetes coverage. For more information, visit our Heart of the Valley page.

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CHANNEL 5 NEWS is dedicating two weeks of coverage to diabetes. Learn more on the Heart of the Valley page.