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Control or Prevent Diabetes Through Healthier Habits, Pennsylvania Health Secretary Urges

March 24th Marks 21st Annual American Diabetes Alert Day

HARRISBURG, Pa., March 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As diabetes rates continue to rise, Department of Health Secretary Everette James today stressed the need for Pennsylvanians to learn about steps they can take to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes.

"While we don't know the exact cause of diabetes, we do know that genetics and personal health choices can play a role in its development," said Secretary James. "Take control of your overall health by eating properly and adding moderate exercise to your daily routine. For many people, adopting these changes can delay -- or even prevent -- diabetes."

Approximately 863,000 people in Pennsylvania have diabetes and the number is growing. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of diabetes cases has increased by 90 percent nationally over the past decade and that has had a significant impact on our health system and its costs. The American Diabetes Association says direct costs and productivity losses associated with diabetes amounted to $174 billion in 2007.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when a person's pancreas does not produce, or stops producing, insulin resulting in Type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes occurs if the body is not producing enough insulin and/or the body cannot use the insulin that is produced. Insulin is a hormone that converts sugar and starches from food into energy.

Diabetes increases an individual's risk for additional health complications and other chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Individuals with diabetes are also more likely than those without to suffer blindness and lower extremity amputations.

Knowledge about diabetes management is important not only for those who battle the disease but for their caregivers and loved ones as well. Individuals should know the ABCs of Diabetes - A- the A1C blood sugar test, B-blood pressure and C-cholesterol levels.

"It's important to talk with your physician about the ABCs of diabetes," added James. "Together, you can discuss steps to be taken to keep your levels normal and develop a plan that works best for you."

For a free brochure about the ABCs of diabetes, call 1-800-438-5383. To learn about diabetes, visit

    CONTACT: Stacy Kriedeman
    (717) 787-1783

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
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