November is “Missouri Diabetes Awareness Month”, an opportunity for communities to increase attention to diabetes as a health issue. State health statistics indicate there are over 400,000 Missouri adults suffering from diabetes, with a prevalence of approximately 10 per every 100 Missourians having the disease.
In addition, over 300,000 Missouri adults are estimated to have pre-diabetes. Diagnosis of pre-diabetes symptoms provides a chance to prevent or slow down the onset of diabetes and early diagnosis of diabetes provides the opportunity to address complications the disease can cause. Over time, diabetes untreated can damage your blood vessels, nerves that control your heart and cause other health issues.
Missouri’s participation in designating November as “Missouri Diabetes Awareness Month” was legislation I sponsored and passed in 2018. The design of this legislation was a great story of citizen-based input. Working with Healthy Nevada staff, we invited professionals in the 126th District, Vernon and Bates Counties that worked in areas related to diabetic health care and education…both county hospitals, diabetic educators, school nurses, YMCA, University of MO Extension, physicians, etc. to meet together at the Innovation Center in Nevada, MO on October 18, 2016.
Brainstorming together, the group came up with ideas for addressing diabetic health issues. With a focus to better promote awareness and early treatment, Missouri’s legislative agenda was developed. On behalf of our 126th District, I began working on this legislation as a platform for stronger state-wide awareness and better utilization of resources already in place. Legislation that would remind Missourians of the importance of knowing their family health history, being aware of pre-diabetic symptoms and working closely with their medical professionals if diagnosed.
HB 1247 was signed into law by Governor Parson on July 6, 2018 as a part of SB 951. HB 1247 went through the legislative process of House and Senate Committee Hearings and House Floor passage as a stand-alone bill. As the bill was awaiting Senate Floor Debate, I teamed with Senator Sandy Crawford to include it as an amendment in the SB 951 Health Care Bill, which was the vehicle for passage in 2018.
Now each year in November, Missourians are encouraged to evaluate their family health history, follow up with their health professional for easy testing to see if they are at risk and follow care procedures. Also, individuals are encouraged to plan programs for their community groups regarding the risks of diabetes. Valuable local resources to collaborate with include our county health department, University of Missouri Extension, YMCA, our county hospital and our area health professionals. Working together to raise awareness of the importance of proper detection and health care, we can lower the statics of Missourians dealing with diabetes.
Missouri Splendor: Our Show-Me State certainly has a lot to show. Throughout Missouri’s 198 years as a state, it has flourished in many areas. Missouri has an incredible variety of mineral resources, including zinc and silver. It is also one of the leading lead producers in the nation. Missouri is also an important industrial and farming state. Its location and its two great rivers have made Missouri a center of water, land and air transportation. Sometimes called the “Mother of the West” because it once lay at the edge of the frontier, Missouri was the jumping off place for westward bound pioneers. Many of these pioneers chose to settle Missouri’s rich and fertile land instead of continuing their journey. With more caves, more free-flowing streams and more types of wildflowers than any other state, Missouri has many natural attractions as well. The state boasts more than 90 state parks, nearly 6,400 caves, more than 500 lakes and more than 30 rivers and creeks. For assistance in acquiring maps and information to explore our great state, contact the MO Department of Tourism at www.visitmo.com.
Contact Representative Pike at Patricia.Pike@house.mo.gov or call 573-751-5388 with your comments and for assistance on state issues, resolutions, flags, and visits in District and at the Capitol. Contact Legislative Assistant, Matt Glover, at Matthew.Glover@house.mo.gov. Our 126th District Office is open year-round at the Missouri Capitol Monday through Thursday – 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. in Room 404A.