Walgreens Hosting Free Diabetic Wellness Starting Today

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Walgreens is launching the Optimal Wellness™ program that will initially focus on people with type 2 diabetes on February 5, 2010 thru February 18, 2010. Walgreens Optimal Wellness™ is a significant step for Walgreens and the health care industry that capitalizes on the power of face-to-face interaction.

The number of diabetes cases nationwide has increased 90 percent over the past decade. Diabetes has become the fastest-growing disease in the U.S. In fact, it’s estimated more than 6 million Americans are unaware that they are currently living with diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Furthering its commitment to diabetes awareness and early disease prevention, Walgreens drugstore chain with more than 70,000 health care providers, is announcing free blood glucose testing at all Walgreens 24-hour stores and Take Care Clinics nationwide tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., as featured on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” today.

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“Walgreens Optimal Wellness™ utilizes our wide range of health care providers and resources to control debilitating and costly chronic care conditions,” said Greg Wasson, Walgreens President and CEO. “Diabetes is one of the most difficult chronic care diseases to manage and the most costly. Through accessible community pharmacies, our program brings patients the tools they need to live healthier and more productive lives.”

“Educating type 2 diabetes patients on best practices and individualizing care are critical elements to combating this chronic disease, which continues to affect Americans at an increasingly rapid pace,” said Dr. Richard Jackson, Medical Director, Healthcare Services, Joslin Diabetes Center. “As we have seen in real world examples, when communication between patients and health care providers improves, patient outcomes are more likely to be successful.”

“Treating diabetes remains a daunting challenge,” said Dr. Lucy Crane, Walgreens corporate medical director. “While great strides are being made through research and education that have reduced the effects of diabetes complications, nearly 900 people die from complications from this disease every day. Providing patients with their own personal health coach will enable them to develop a step-by-step diabetes plan that is ongoing, convenient and customized to daily life. Directly engaging with patients leads to far better adherence and ultimately better outcomes when treating chronic diseases.”

In addition to the free blood glucose testing, events will be held at select Walgreens stores in thousands of communities nationwide as well as at all 357 Take Care Clinics. “We’re proud to offer these free blood glucose testing events as another means to heighten diabetes awareness and overall health and wellness,” said Kermit R. Crawford, Walgreens executive vice president of pharmacy services. “We want everyone who’s concerned about diabetes to be able to get tested. Through interaction with our pharmacists and Take Care nurse practitioners, and the many tools and resources Walgreens offers, we hope to improve the lives of those affected by diabetes or at risk for diabetes.”

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