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Seminar organized by NFIA & SCP shines a spotlight on diabetes awareness in Atlanta

BY RAJ RAZDAN

Photos by Vinod Karia & Nikki Dedani/Kelly

Atlanta, GA, December 17, 2023: Recently, NFIA in collaboration with SCP organized a highly meaningful seminar focusing on Diabetes Awareness on Sunday December 10 at Ashiana Banquet hall.  The event drew a substantial audience, particularly from the senior community, who commended the seminar as an invaluable educational experience in understanding diabetes.

Esteemed physicians, leaders in their respective fields, articulately explained the nuances of the disease. In a dedicated effort to raise awareness and promote a healthier future, the National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA) and the Senior Citizens Program (SCP) together successfully organized the Diabetes Awareness, a dynamic initiative spotlighting Diabetes Awareness in our community. Attendees gained insights into diabetes prevention strategies, healthy lifestyle choices, and the latest advancements in diabetes management.

Eminent physicians provided personal stories of triumph over diabetes and their motivational speeches from such experts in the field, provided valuable perspectives on living with diabetes.

The Diabetes Awareness featured informative sessions by renowned healthcare professionals Dr. Darshana Vyas, Dr. Ketan Goswani, Dr. Niraj Sharma, Dr. Biren Joshi, Ms Parul Shah and other engaging activities designed to educate attendees about the importance of diabetes prevention, management and overall well-being.

NFIA founded in 1980, is one of the largest socio-welfare national umbrella organization in the USA. NFIA is a non-profit federally tax-exempt organization. One of its Vice President Aparna Hande organized a similar event in Los Angeles in collaboration with GOPIO. 

Senior Citizens Program, also a tax-exempt, non-profit organization founded in 1996 has been in existence for over 27 years and is known for its dedication and commitment for empowering Senior Citizens.

Dr. Darshana Vyas was introduced by Raj Razdan, (the President of NFIA and Executive Director of SCP) and requested to Chair the proceedings of the Seminar. Dr Vyas is an esteemed physician specializing in Internal Medicine. A graduate of Baroda Medical School with Post graduate study and residency in Internal medicine-Cook County Hospital.  A Chicago board Certified in Internal medicine, Dr. Vyas was in private practice for 35 years with affiliation with hospital in Alabama. On her retirement she moved to Atlanta and  volunteers as a Physician in Georgia Association of Physicians of India  (GAPI) Clinic in Atlanta every other Saturday.

Dr. Vyas then introduced and invited Dr. Ketan Goswami, a distinguished board-certified adult endocrinologist practicing at North Atlanta Endocrinology and Diabetes since 2005.

Speaking on the topic “Diabetes and You,” the seminar shed light on the prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM), particularly among individuals of the Indian subcontinent

T2DM frequently runs a silent course and many times is diagnosed when there are already major complications from it. T2DM can be managed well and complications can be avoided or delayed with early and aggressive management. Cornerstones of the treatment plan are healthy diet, regular vigorous exercise and weight loss where appropriate. A variety of medicines can be used according to the need and personal situation. The effects of medicines can be judged by close monitoring of the blood glucose levels and periodic laboratory tests. Your doctor and you can devise a plan that works the best for you. Diabetes care requires careful planning, self discipline and active participation in your health care. Remember, with well-controlled diabetes and other risk factors, a healthy life are possible.

The seminar also featured insights from experts in other medical fields as well. The next speaker, Dr. Niraj Sharma, a renowned cardiologist, offered valuable information on cardiology in relation to diabetes. He emphasized the importance of proactive measures in managing heart health for diabetic patients.


He added, “Heart disease is notably prevalent among individuals with South Asian, particularly Indian, ancestry. This group experiences a higher frequency of heart attacks, which are caused by blockages in the arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart, and these incidents tend to occur at a younger age. To mitigate these risks, it’s crucial to adopt a balanced approach to health. This includes engaging in moderate exercise for at least five days a week, adhering to a healthy diet, and maintaining a positive lifestyle, which encompasses avoiding smoking and consuming alcohol in moderation. Regular cholesterol monitoring is advisable for all adults. Additionally, in specific cases, a CT Coronary calcium score can be instrumental in guiding decisions about cholesterol-lowering treatments. By adhering to these guidelines, individuals can not only extend their lifespan but also enhance their quality of life.”

 Dr. Biren Joshi, a distinguished Nephrologist, discussed the crucial link between Diabetes and Kidney Disease. He stressed the importance of early detection, urging patients to seek specialized care in the early stages to mitigate the progression of kidney disease.

He remarked, “Diabetes is the leading cause of Kidney disease in the USA. Most patients with diabetes don’t have any symptoms of kidney disease till they are in Stage 3 and Stage 4 of Chronic Kidney Disease- their Kidney function is between 15% to 60 %. Only urine tests and blood work will detect kidney disease. Diabetic Kidney disease starts with spilling protein in urine followed after some time by decreased kidney function detected by blood tests. It is very important to see a kidney specialist while the patient is in Stage 3 Kidney disease, who can manage to slow down the further worsening of kidney disease-which can be achieved by good control of blood sugar, good control of blood pressure with a certain class of antihypertensives and avoiding anti-inflammatory medicine e.g. Ibuprofen, Celebrex, Meloxicam and Intra-venous radio-contrast dye. The patient needs detailed education about different options when kidney function drops to 30%- Kidney transplantation, various types of dialysis e.g. Machine dialysis in a dialysis center and at home, and peritoneal dialysis at home. The patient is referred for evaluation for Kidney transplantation when kidney function is 20% or below and will need to start on Dialysis when kidney functions drop below 15 % in-patient with Diabetes.”

Dr. Darshana Vyas then invited Parul Shah, a nutritionist certified by the American Dietetic Association and licensed by the Georgia State board. Parul Shah’s expertise in clinical dietetics, her emphasis on healthy eating habits, and her non-dieting approach to nutrition were well received.

The seminar, encompassing a wealth of medical expertise and practical advice, provided attendees with comprehensive insights into diabetes care, fostering a better understanding of proactive measures and management techniques. The event helped made a difference by shedding light on the importance of diabetes awareness.

 “Together, we can empower our community to lead healthier, happier lives. We are grateful to the event sponsor Mr. Subhash Patel of Natson Hotels, the panel of speakers and the dedicated volunteers for making a success of this meaningful event,” remarked the event coordinator, Raj Razdan.  She added, “We would like to thank Dr Sreeni Gangasani for all the help and support. Our thanks to Mr Abhinav Sharma for the announcement Flyer of Diabetes Awareness and Anjali Chabria of TV Asia for media coverage, photographer Vinod Karia and Nikki Dedani/Kelly and numerous other volunteers.”

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