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Health Secretary Encourages Pennsylvanians to Learn the 'ABCs' of Controlling Diabetes
Date:3/22/2010

March 23 is American Diabetes Alert Day

HARRISBURG, Pa., March 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Secretary of Health Everette James reminds diabetic Pennsylvanians to reduce the risk of complications from the disease and improve their quality of life by knowing and following the "ABCs" of diabetes.

The "A" in ABC represents A1C blood sugar, "B" is for blood pressure and "C" is cholesterol numbers.

"Ask your health care provider what your A1C blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol numbers are and what they should be," said Secretary of Health Everette James. "Talk to your doctor about the steps you can take to achieve or maintain healthy levels. Controlling your 'ABCs' can help reduce your chances of serious health problems such as blindness, kidney failure and amputations."

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the 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 the risk for additional health complications and other chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Individuals with diabetes are also at increased risk of blindness and lower extremity amputations.

In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 23.6 million individuals – 7.8 percent of all Americans – have diabetes.  In Pennsylvania, approximately 872,000 Pennsylvania adults – or approximately 9 percent - have been diagnosed with the disease.

Although the causes of diabetes are not certain, genetics and lifestyle factors, such as obesity and a lack of exercise, can play a role. Diabetes can be prevented or delayed by eating healthy foods and participating in regular physical activity. For those who already have diabetes, it is important to manage the disease by monitoring what you eat, exercising, testing blood sugar regularly and taking medication as prescribed.

For a free brochure about the ABCs of diabetes, call 1-800-438-5383. To learn about diabetes, visit www.health.state.pa.us/diabetes.  

Media contact: Stacy Kriedeman, 717-787-1783

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health

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