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Health and Family Services Cabinet
Take the Risk, Take the Test

Press Release Date:  Thursday, March 22, 2007  
Contact Information:  Gwenda Bond or Beth Crace, (502) 564-6786  

American Diabetes Alert Day is Tuesday, March 27

In honor of American Diabetes Alert Day on March 27, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) wants residents of the commonwealth to understand the health implications of diabetes and is encouraging Kentuckians to take a brief, online survey to test their risk of  developing the disease.

According to the DPH Diabetes Prevention and Control Program, an estimated 274,000 adult Kentuckians have diagnosed diabetes. It is also estimated that 29 percent of diabetes cases are undiagnosed, which means that an additional 111,900 Kentucky adults may have diabetes and not know it. Based on these estimates, approximately 385,900 (about 12.5 percent) adult Kentuckians have diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) reports that someone is diagnosed with diabetes every 21 seconds. If you think you have diabetes, or might be at risk for developing the disease, this helpful survey can be found at the ADA Web site:

“Too many people in Kentucky are suffering from diabetes,” said William Hacker, M.D., acting undersecretary for health and public health commissioner. “The worst part about it is that many people don’t know they have the disease because they may not have any of the common symptoms of diabetes like thirst, frequent urination, feeling tired, or having a sore that won’t heal. That’s why it’s important to take the ADA’s risk test.”

Diabetes is a serious disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, the hormone needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy. This causes blood sugar levels to be above normal, which can lead to problems such as heart disease, stroke, vision loss, kidney disease and nerve damage. The vast majority of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, which usually occurs after age 45, but is occurring more often in younger people, including children and adolescents. 

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body fails to properly use insulin and is often the result of becoming overweight or obese. However, before people develop type 2 diabetes, they usually have “pre-diabetes,” a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. People with pre-diabetes are more likely to develop diabetes within 10 years and also are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke.

“It is important to find out early if you have type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes, because treatment can prevent the serious problems caused by high blood sugar. Recent studies have proven that people at high risk for diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of the disease with 30 minutes of physical activity, five days a week, and losing 5 to 7 percent of their body weight,” said Linda Leber, diabetes education coordinator for public health’s diabetes prevention and control program. 

“But we also want people to understand that people with diabetes can manage the disease for a better quality of life,” said Leber.

Risk factors for diabetes include age; being overweight; being physically inactive; having a family history of diabetes; being African-American, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic, or Pacific Islander; having had gestational diabetes or a baby weighing 9 pounds or more; having high blood pressure; and having high lipid (blood fats) levels. DPH and ADA strongly encourage everyone, particularly adults, to take the ADA Risk Test to assess personal risk for developing diabetes.

“Please spend a few moments taking the risk test and then pass this message on to your friends, co-workers, neighbors, church members and family,” said Leber. “Type 2 diabetes is a serious disease, but it can be delayed or prevented. Take steps now to lower your risk of getting diabetes.”

More information is available through the ADA Web site,, or the DPH Diabetes Prevention and Control site,





Last Updated 3/22/2007