(INDIANAPOLIS) – Approximately 10.5 percent of adults in Indiana are living with diabetes, a 37 percent increase since 2005. Diabetes Alert Day is March 26, and the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) is encouraging all Hoosiers to take steps to reduce their risk of diabetes, a group of diseases that develop when the body does not produce enough insulin, is unable to use insulin effectively, or both.
Observed annually on the fourth Tuesday in March, Diabetes Alert Day is a one-day “wake-up call” that focuses on the seriousness of diabetes and the importance of understanding your risk. Nearly one in four adults living with diabetes, or 7.2 million Americans, are unaware that they have the disease, and nine out of 10 adults with prediabetes don’t know they have it.
“Visiting your healthcare provider to have your blood glucose checked regularly is extremely important,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, MD, FACOG. “Armed with that knowledge, you can work to prevent or delay the onset of the most common type of this serious and potentially life-threatening illness.”
Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in Indiana, and there are two forms of the disease. Type 1, previously called juvenile-onset diabetes, develops when the body’s immune system destroys the cells that make insulin. There is no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes. Type 2, or adult-onset diabetes, occurs when cells do not use insulin properly. As the need for insulin rises, the pancreas gradually loses its ability to produce it. Type 2 diabetes is associated with older age, obesity, family history of diabetes and physical inactivity.
One-third of Indiana adults have prediabetes, a condition in which individuals have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Prediabetes often has no symptoms, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that without changes in diet and lifestyle, such as exercising, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding tobacco use, two to three times as many people could be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within 40 years.
Hoosiers can find out if they are at risk for diabetes by taking the CDC’s online Prediabetes Screening Test at www.cdc.gov/prediabetes/takethetest/. Individuals whose screening shows they are at high risk can join a diabetes prevention program. A list is available at www.preventdiabetes.isdh.in.gov.
ISDH also urges anyone with diabetes to attend a Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) program. These helpful resources provide people with diabetes the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to better manage their condition and improve their quality of life. DSME programs are also valuable for anyone who is a caretaker or family member of someone with diabetes.
For more information about diabetes or prediabetes, visit http://www.in.gov/isdh/24966.htm.
Visit the Indiana State Department of Health at www.StateHealth.in.gov for important health and safety information, or follow us on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/isdh1.