Helping Mississippi Delta Region Overcome Moderate to High Health Risk

Jonesboro, AR -- A recent study by the Delta Regional Authority shows that of 233 Jonesboro area residents who participated in a hometown healthfair health screening in September, 60 percent were at moderate to high health risk.

At risk of becoming obese, developing high blood pressure, and even developing diabetes which now affects nearly 21 million people in the United States and 246 people worldwide.

"Of course, the more you know, the better you can manage your condition," said Tom Reeves.

Tom Reeves has been managing his diabetes since 1999.

His mother and father were diabetic and diagnosed in their fifties.

"I became thirsty.  I was eating all of the time and I was still losing a lot of weight," said Reeves.

"Genetics plays a factor, also our diet.....and our level of lifestyle as far as our activities like exercising. Our diet, eating more than we are burning," said Dr. Sam Palmer at St. Bernards.

He believes more people are being tested for diabetes and are being made aware of the debilitating affects of diabetes if left untreated.

"Increased risk of heart disease, blindness, kidney troubles, or even amputations," said Dr. Palmer.

He says simple things like watching what you eat and exercising can help minimize your risk of developing diabetes.

"To all things we can add medicines, but if you really work on that initially, you are going to improve your long term lifestyle," said Dr. Palmer.

Part of Tom Reeves daily life is a bag he carries with him everywhere he goes.....equipped with everything he needs.

It's just another element of diabetes he had to adjust to upon his diagnosis.

While he says diabetes has changed his life, he works hard to ensure it doesn't control his life.

"You can learn all of the information you can find, but then if you don't have the commitment, it won't work for you," said Reeves.