HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Health is urging Pennsylvanians to take control of their health by being screened for diabetes, an often preventable disease that is the nation's seventh-leading cause of death.
"Early detection is a key component in controlling diabetes," said Secretary of Health Dr. Eli Avila. "As diabetes rates continue to rise, it's important for Pennsylvanians to know their risk for diabetes and get properly screened to help combat this disease."
The department is holding screening and awareness activities to observe National Diabetes Awareness Month and World Diabetes Day. During a screening event at the state Capitol, department staff provided diabetes risk assessments and fact sheets, while PinnacleHealth offered free screenings for cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar.
The Department of Health is also participating in the International Diabetes Federation's Blue Monument Challenge. The state Capitol Building is illuminated in blue lights for the month of November. The goal is to gain support throughout the world by lighting buildings and monuments blue, the color chosen to reinforce the link between diabetes and awareness.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that can occur in two forms. If the pancreas does not produce insulin, it results in type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body is not producing enough insulin and/or the body cannot use the insulin that is produced. Insulin is a hormone that helps convert sugar and starches from food into energy.
Although the cause of diabetes is uncertain, genetics and lifestyle factors, such as obesity and a lack of exercise, can play a role. Diabetes can be prevented or delayed by healthy eating habits and regular exercise. For those who already have diabetes, it is important to manage the disease by monitoring what you eat, exercising often, testing blood sugar regularly and taking medication as prescribed.
Diabetes rates are on the rise nationwide. Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes, and an estimated 79 million adults have pre-diabetes, placing them at increased risk for developing the disease. In Pennsylvania, nearly 872,000 adults have been diagnosed with diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association estimates diabetes drives nearly $153 billion in annual health-care spending and billions more in lost productivity costs. To take the diabetes risk test or to learn more about your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, visit the association online at www.diabetes.org/risktest.
For more information about diabetes in Pennsylvania, visit www.health.state.pa.us/diabetes.
Media contact: Christine Cronkright or Holli Senior, 717-787-1783
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health