Florida Health in Alachua County Recognizes Diabetes Awareness Month

​This press release published at the request of the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County.

The Florida Department of Health in Alachua County (DOH-Alachua) recognizes November as Diabetes Awareness Month; a month set aside every year to raise awareness about diabetes and promote the importance of taking steps to confront diabetes as a critical health issue. The theme for this year is The Family and Diabetes, strengthening the role of the family in the management, care, prevention, and education of diabetes.

“Left undiagnosed or poorly managed, diabetes can lead to life-altering and sometimes life-ending complications. It’s important for all of us to be educated on the warning signs, especially parents so that we can help our loved ones get the medical attention they need in a timely manner. After diagnosis, educating the family, not just the person with diabetes, is crucial to the ability for those diagnosed to maintain their health and quality of life during their lifelong journey with diabetes.” stated Paul Myers, Administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County.

The number of people diagnosed with diabetes has more than tripled in the last 20 years in the U.S. In Florida, it is estimated that over 2.4 million people have diabetes and over 5.8 million have prediabetes. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in Florida.

There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant). Women with diabetes have more difficulty conceiving and may have poor pregnancy outcomes, so it is especially important for women to be aware of their risk factors for developing diabetes, including having a family history of diabetes as well as age, weight, and physical activity level.

Due to better treatments, people with diabetes are now living longer, and with a better quality of life than ever before. Healthy lifestyles can also reduce the impact that diabetes may have on lives. A blood test from health care providers can determine if someone has diabetes. Early treatment can prevent serious problems diabetes can cause, such as loss of eyesight or kidney damage.

When blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes a person may be at risk for prediabetes. Prediabetes is a serious health condition that increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Eighty-six million American adults have prediabetes. Nine out of ten people with prediabetes don’t know they have it. Fortunately, making healthy lifestyle choices can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems. A simple blood sugar test is needed to find out if someone has prediabetes. Residents should talk to their health care provider to find out if they should be tested.

DOH-Alachua offers a Center for Disease Control recognized Diabetes Prevention Program as well as a Diabetes Self-Management Education program that is accredited by the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE). DOH-Alachua is participating in a community food truck rally and carnival on November 18, 2018, to provide diabetes screenings and education.

Learn more about diabetes prevention and self-management.

For more information about National Diabetes Month, visit the International Diabetes Federation, American Diabetes Association, and the National Diabetes Month 2018 Toolkit.

For more information, contact Erica Barnard at 352-334-7962 or erica.barnard@flhealth.gov.

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