Forget about risk factors: nothing gives people the “diabetes call” like getting diagnosed yourself or alive through it with a loved one. The latter is exactly what happened lately to Academy-Award winner Olympia Dukakis, whose husband Louis Zorich was diagnosed with type two diabetes.
Unexpectedly, diabetes awareness proved to be a top-of-mind problem for the couple, as they understood that early screening may have spared Louis’ life and limb. Olympia has joined forces with Novo Nordisk to get a brand new campaign announced this week called called Ask.Screen.Know, which promotes folks over the age of 65 to get in and get screened for type 2 diabetes.
Last week I had an Opportunity to ask the two a couple questions about the campaign and Louis’ identification:
DM) Your campaign is all about getting the free screening test for diabetes. What prompted Louis to have screened at the first location?
L) I really was not motivated. I happen to have an excellent doctor who states, “I think you have to come in and see me and get blood work” It was in the conclusion of ’08. In fact, there are just 7 out of 10 people [over the age of 65] who have diabetes and do not know it. I was one of those folks fortunate enough to find out through a screening. I would encourage everyone 65 and older to have themselves screened… We are interested in assisting other people to become aware of the risk and if they may already have diabetes without knowing it.
O) The screening is available free from Medicare if you’ve understood risk factors, that are high cholesterol, are obese, have a family, or had diabetes during pregnancy.
DM) What is your initial reaction to the analysis? Can you have a history of diabetes?
L) Frankly I was surprised, because I’d no idea I had it! Even though there are people in my family who have it — my mom and three sisters — I thought I was in the clear. But I’m glad I found it. It’s manageable. You’re able to look after yourself, eat right, manage your blood glucose, and exercise. I would tell everyone out there to have screened, so before any harm is done that they find out.
DM) How do you have managed diabetes since the identification? Has it been difficult?
O) He’s still very tricky to live with! [laughter from the] He’s just being more mindful of what he eats, so I’m more mindful of what I eat. It has made us profoundly conscious that our children have to have information; our children are in danger since it runs in Louis’ family.
DM) What made you decide to be a spokesperson for this specific Novo Nordisk campaign?
O) They got in touch with us and asked if we’d associate together. They felt that because of our private experience with early screening, we would be plausible in this effort. We decided to just do it.
As part of this campaign, the company has established a site educating folks about the Medicare screening and what they can do using the information their doctor gives them very important things, like what your glucose numbers mean!
The campaign website offers loads of information, videos (a few actually funny! ), downloadable tools, etc.. There’s even an email and voicemail messaging system on the way for people who might not be as tech-savvy.
Know anybody who you think ought to have screened? Now you know where to ship them.
Many thanks to Olympia and Louis for calling attention to this origin.
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This content is made for Diabetes Mine, a customer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content isn’t medically reviewed and doesn’t stick to Healthline’s editorial instructions. To learn more regarding Healthline’s venture with Diabetes Mine, please click here.
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