FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Connecticut Department of Public Health
March 23, 2009 Contact: William Gerrish
Hartford — The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) joins with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) in recognizing March 24th as National Diabetes Alert Day and calling attention to the “Risky Business” of diabetes. The one-day “wake-up” call is to inform the public about the seriousness of diabetes and to encourage people to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
“An estimated 163,000 Connecticut residents have been diagnosed with diabetes, yet an additional 60,000 are undiagnosed,” stated DPH Commissioner J. Robert Galvin M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A. “For many, diagnosis may come seven to ten years after the onset of the disease.”
According to the ADA there are 23.6 million children and adults in the United States, or 7.8% of the population, who have diabetes. While an estimated 17.9 million have been diagnosed with diabetes, unfortunately, 5.7 million people (or nearly one quarter) are unaware that they have the disease.
“The startling truth is that approximately one-quarter of people who have diabetes don’t even know it,” added Dr. Galvin. “That is why it is so important to know the warning signs for this disease, especially for African Americans who are more at risk. Know the facts, and get tested so that you can better manage the disease and avoid complications.”
Dr. Galvin stressed that an 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 a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles.
“Not only is there a tremendous impact to one’s own personal health and quality of life from this disease, but diabetes cost Connecticut an estimated $1.7 million in direct and indirect costs in 2003 alone,” said Dr. Galvin.
“Everyone should be especially aware of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes,” stressed Dr. Galvin. “People who are overweight, under active (living a sedentary lifestyle), and over the age of 45 should consider themselves at risk for the disease. African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and people who have a family history of the disease are at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes.”
On Diabetes Alert Day, the ADA will "Sound the Alert" about the seriousness of diabetes. To help people better recognize their own risk for type 2 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association encourages the public to take the Diabetes Risk Test which requires users to answer simple questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risk factors for diabetes.
The Diabetes Risk Test shows users whether they are at low, moderate, or high risk for diabetes. If they are at high risk, they are encouraged to schedule an appointment with their healthcare provider. The risk test can be found on line at www.diabetes.org or call 1-877- 639-0385 ext 3532 to request a paper copy.
The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight against the deadly consequences of diabetes and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The ADA mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit www.diabetes.org.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state. To contact the department, please visit its website at www.ct.gov/dph or call (860) 509-7270.