Tuesday, March 27, 2012
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State health department encourages testing on diabetes 'Alert Day'

Diabetes is the 7th-leading cause of death in Illinois

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[March 27, 2012]  CHICAGO -- The Illinois Department of Public Health joins the American Diabetes Association today in recognizing March 27 as the 24th annual diabetes "Alert Day," encouraging the American public to take the "Diabetes Risk Test" to determine if they are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is a serious disease that strikes nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States, and a quarter of them do not even know they have it. An additional 79 million, or 1 in 3 American adults, have pre-diabetes, which puts them at high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, formerly called adult-onset or non-insulin-dependent diabetes. Early diagnosis is critical to successful treatment and delaying or preventing some of its complications, such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, amputation and death.

Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States. In Illinois, more than 827,000 adults have been diagnosed with diabetes, and the disease was also the seventh-leading cause of death in 2008.

People who are overweight, living a sedentary, inactive lifestyle and over the age of 45 should consider themselves at risk for the disease. African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and people with a family history of the disease also are at increased risk for Type 2 diabetes.

"Early diagnosis and education are critical for effective management of Type 2 diabetes," said Dr. Arthur Kohrman, acting director of the state's Department of Public Health. "We encourage all Illinoisans, and particularly those who fall into high-risk categories for developing Type 2 diabetes, to participate in 'Alert Day' and take the Diabetes Risk Test. Everyone should know their risk."

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Studies have shown that Type 2 diabetes can often be prevented or delayed by losing just 7 percent of body weight, such as 15 pounds if you weigh 200, through regular physical activity -- 30 minutes a day, five days a week -- and healthy eating. By understanding your risk, you can take the necessary steps to help prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

Take the Diabetes Risk Test by visiting the American Diabetes Association's Facebook page, or call 1-800-DIABETES.

Also, visit the IDPH Diabetes Prevention and Control Program at http://www.idph.state.il.us/diabetes/index.htm, or call 217-782-4977 for more information.

[Text from Illinois Department of Public Health file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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