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Health Secretary Promotes Awareness of Diabetes, Urges Healthy Habits

November Is American Diabetes Month

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- To mark the start of American Diabetes Month, Secretary of Health Dr. Calvin Johnson today urged Pennsylvanians to adopt healthy habits that may help them to prevent the onset of diabetes.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects an estimated 21 million Americans including more than 800,000 people in Pennsylvania.

"Diabetes is a serious, public health concern with causes linked to both genetics and lifestyle," said Dr. Johnson. "We want all Pennsylvanians to know the risk factors for diabetes, and also how they can manage the disease, if they have it. Improper management could lead to damage to the eyes, kidneys, feet, nerves, and cardiovascular system."

Diabetes is a lifelong disease that occurs when a person's pancreas does not produce or stops producing insulin (Type 1 diabetes) or is not producing enough insulin and/or the body cannot use it (Type 2 diabetes). Women may also develop a type of diabetes during pregnancy, gestational diabetes, which may put them at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes after pregnancy.

Although the causes of diabetes are not certain, genetics and lifestyle factors, such as obesity and lack of physical activity, are undoubtedly related to its development. Even for those who already have diabetes, it is very important to properly manage the disease and prevent complications by maintaining a healthy weight, getting adequate physical activity, and regularly visiting your doctor.

Pennsylvania recognized the need to address diabetes with a coordinated and comprehensive strategy and created the Pennsylvania Diabetes Action Partnership. This group of more than 300 organizations was convened by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and recently published Pennsylvania's first Diabetes Action Plan.

The Governor's Prescription for Pennsylvania initiative recognizes the costly impact of diabetes and other chronic conditions on the health care system. As one of his first actions under the Prescription for Pennsylvania, Governor Edward G. Rendell signed an executive order creating the Pennsylvania Chronic Care Management, Reimbursement and Cost Reduction Commission.

"About 78 percent of all health care costs can be traced to 20 percent of all patients -- those with chronic diseases," Governor Rendell said in May when he announced the new commission. "We cannot reduce the occurrence and cost of chronic diseases without aggressively addressing prevention, detection and treatment in a comprehensive, proactive way, and setting that up will be the job of this commission."

The Pennsylvania Diabetes Prevention and Control Program in the Department of Health is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a state appropriation. To learn more about the program or to view the Pennsylvania Diabetes Action Plan, visit the

For more information on Governor Rendell's Prescription for Pennsylvania, visit


Stacy Kriedeman

(717) 787-1783

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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