Las Vegas support group works to prevent diabetes complications

Diabetes is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States (KSNV)

Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health.

In the Las Vegas area, 8-10 percent of the population has the disease and the complications that happen as a result can be crippling.

One woman is working to prevent that through a support group she created years ago.

As a registered nurse, Theresa Moore spends a lot of time at the hospital, but on her off time, she focuses on ADEMS -- short for Adult Diabetes Education Management Support -- a group she started.

"We've had the group for approximately 17 years. We are the largest diabetes support group in the state," Moore said. "Having the support group makes everybody know there's people that's going through the same thing that you do and everybody helps each other, everybody learns to each other."

Moore's role in the hospital exposed her to the lack of knowledge on diabetes, a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal and can cause serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, and kidney failure.

"I see a lot of people in the emergency room, people who don't know anything about their diabetes or say 'I don't have diabetes but a touch of sugar,' well you're pregnant or you're not, so you have diabetes or you don't," Moore said. "I think it's important for people to know they have diabetes and take steps to prevent the complications."

Diabetes can strike anyone, from any walk of life. Moore was diagnosed at 12 years old, overseas.

"I had to take shots and it definitely made me isolated," Moore said.

That's why she feels ADEMS is important ... you realize you're not alone.

"We want people to know there is help out there for you guys because we know doctors are not available to sit there and answer all questions for you," Moore said.

It helped Gwen Vedral develop healthier habits.

"I know I can live with it. I can fight it all I can to live a healthy life and it's not going to get me if I can help it," Vedral said.

Moore and her husband have led every support group meeting once a month at the West Charleston library for 17 years.

"A lot of people think of diabetes as the old-time my grandmother's legs were amputated or lost a vision or on dialysis, you can live a healthy, long life with the medication now," Moore said. "Even though it's hard to have diabetes, this is the best time to have diabetes because of the technology."

For Moore, it's simple -- she hopes through education and awareness, she can help Nevadans lead healthier lives.

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