Health and Family Services Cabinet
DPH Supports the American Diabetes Alert
March 24 Serves as ‘Call to Action’ for Americans
The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) wants residents of the commonwealth to recognize the American Diabetes Alert, an annual event that serves as a one-day wake-up call to remind everyone about the seriousness of diabetes.
DPH and the American Diabetes Association are working to encourage people to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they or their loved ones are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Current estimates show the disease affects millions of people.
“In Kentucky, an estimated 445,200 adults are living with diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes, and many more are at risk for developing the disease,” said DPH Commissioner William D. Hacker, M.D. “We must make better choices about the things we eat and the amount of physical activity we get and start curbing rates of this disease.”
Diabetes is a condition that results when the body’s blood glucose (sugar) is too high. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the body may not produce enough insulin or it doesn’t effectively use the insulin it has, or both occur at the same time.
Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose, which is the basic fuel for the cells in the body. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into the cells, the cells may feel starved for energy and the elevated blood glucose may damage the eyes, kidneys, nerves or heart.
Many people can have diabetes for years and not know it because they may not have any symptoms. Signs of diabetes are: thirst, frequent urination, feeling very hungry or tired, unintentional weight loss, having sores that heal slowly, dry and itchy skin, blurred vision, and a tingling or loss of feeling in the feet. A blood test to check your glucose levels will show if you have pre-diabetes or diabetes. Pre-diabetes is present when blood sugar levels are elevated, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.
“The good news is you can do things now to lower your risk for diabetes, such as keeping your weight in control; eating low fat meals that include fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods; and staying physically active most days of the week,” said Linda Leber, education coordinator for the Kentucky Diabetes Prevention and Control Program. “If you think you may be at risk, talk to your health care provider about being tested for diabetes.”
The disease affects all races and ethnic groups, but African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are more commonly affected. Other risk factors include having high blood pressure; having a family history of the disease; having diabetes during pregnancy; or having a baby that weighs more than nine pounds at birth.
To obtain a copy of the Diabetes Risk Test or for more information about diabetes and Alert Day ideas (English or Spanish), go to the American Diabetes Association Web site www.diabetes.org/alert or call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383).
For more diabetes-related information, call the Kentucky Diabetes Prevention and
Control Program at (502) 564-7996 or visit its Web site at http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/mch/cd/diabetes.htm or the National Diabetes Education Program site at www.ndep.nih.gov or contact Leber at (502) 564-7996.