For Immediate Release
November 10, 2010

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

November is National Diabetes Month

In recognition of National Diabetes Month in November, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), in partnership with the Kansas Diabetes Action Council, is raising awareness of diabetes and its complications.

Nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes – including an estimated 6 million Americans with diabetes who have it and don’t know it. It is estimated that another 57 million adults in the U.S. have pre-diabetes, placing them at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 95 percent of all cases.

“In Kansas, the story is just as serious,” said John W. Mitchell, KDHE Acting Secretary. “About 8.5 percent of Kansas adults – roughly 180,000 – have been diagnosed with diabetes.”

When looking at age groups, the prevalence of diabetes in Kansans over the age of 65, is the highest (19.4 percent). For Kansans age 55-64, the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes is 14.8 percent. Diabetes is more prevalent in certain populations. For example, the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes (age-adjusted) was higher among African Americans (non-Hispanic) at 14.3 percent than Hispanics at 13.7 percent. In comparison, the prevalence of diabetes in Caucasian (non-Hispanic) was considerably lower at 7.6 percent.

“The only way to know if you have diabetes or pre-diabetes is to be diagnosed by a doctor,” said Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, Kansas State Health Officer and Director of KDHE’s Division of Health. “Left untreated, diabetes can lead to serious health problems and complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, blindness and amputation.”

Someone who has diabetes might have some, all or none of the symptoms, which can include:

The good news is that you can reduce your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes by becoming more active, maintaining a healthy weight, and making nutritious food choices. People with pre-diabetes who take such steps to change their lifestyles can lower their risk of advancing to full-blown diabetes by approximately 60 percent.

For people already living with diabetes, these lifestyle changes can help to better manage the condition and can delay or prevent complications. With more Kansans becoming affected by diabetes and its consequences every day, we must work together to better prevent, manage, and treat this disease.
Are you at risk for Type 2 or pre-diabetes? Find out by taking a diabetes risk test at: www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/prevention/diabetes-risk-test/.

For more information, please visit www.kdheks.gov/diabetes or www.kansasdiabetesactioncouncil.org.