Thursday, November 25, 2010

Man walks for diabetes

Kim Rosenberg, of New Orleans, waves to passing traffic while she and Chris Ralston, also of New Orleans, walk along U.S. 190 west of Erwinville on Wednesday to raise awareness about the diabetes epidemic in Louisiana and nationwide. The two started their journey Friday in Vinton and were walking east to New Orleans, about 30 miles a day.
N.O. lawyer to cover 300 miles to raise awareness
  • Advocate Westside bureau
  • Published: Nov 25, 2010
LIVONIA — Chris Ralston ignored his aching knee and the blisters forming on his feet as he walked for 11 hours along U.S. 190 one day this week.

Ralston, a New Orleans lawyer, is walking across the state  — about 30 miles a day for 10 days — to raise awareness about the prevalence of diabetes in Louisiana.

The American Diabetes Association estimates that nearly 400,000 Louisianans and 24 million Americans have the disease, including 5.7 million people who have diabetes but have not been diagnosed.

In addition, more than half of the nation’s population could have diabetes or pre-diabetes by 2020 if trends continue, according to a recently released UnitedHealth Group report.

In the report, “The United States of Diabetes: Challenges and Opportunities in the Decade Ahead,” researchers concluded that in 2009, health-care costs for diabetics came to about $11,700 each compared with $4,400 for non-diabetics.

The report goes on to say that the disease, which often doesn’t come with symptoms, will affect one out of every three children born in 2000 at some point in their lives and can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, blindness and limb amputation.

But there is hope. Research suggests that exercise goes a long way toward lowering blood sugar levels, helping nondiabetics ward off the disease and helping diabetics cope with it.

A study conducted by Pennington Biomedical Research Center shows that 41 percent of people in a group that combined aerobics with weight training three days per week in 45-minute increments lowered their average blood sugar or decreased their diabetes medications over nine months.

So, one foot in front of the other, Ralston is going to extreme measures to get people’s attention.

His 250-mile trek started Friday in Vinton. Four days later, Ralston and his friend, Kim Rosenberg, had logged about 160 miles as they settled in for the night at the Oak Tree Inn in Livonia.

Early Wednesday morning, Rosenberg was on her way to see relatives during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. But Ralston got up at dawn, caught a ride to the mile marker where he’d finished the night before and set off walking again.

It would be another 11 hours and about 30 miles before he stops again, he said.

“This disease is so prevalent,” Ralston said Tuesday night in Livonia. “I want this state to be more conscious. One of the best ways to decrease your chances of getting diabetes is walking, so this is a personal challenge.”

Ralston, a non-diabetic, got involved with the cause several years ago when he and 50 of his colleagues at the law firm of Phelps Dunbar  LLP received free diabetes screenings.

Of those screened, two were diagnosed with diabetes and 24 were diagnosed with pre-diabetes conditions, he said.

“That’s over half,” he said. “It was unbelievable.”

Ralston is expected to finish his walk Sunday as he hikes  from Slidell back to New Orleans.

Call the American Diabetes Association at (800) 342-2383 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (800) 342-2383      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or visit for more information about diabetes and ways to prevent it.

(article can be found: 2theadvocate) Pin It Now!

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