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UNITED STATES VIRGIN ISLANDS
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

_________________________________________________________
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 22, 2016

November is National Diabetes Month

DOH Brings Awareness to this Disease and Prevention Methods

The Holiday Season is upon us, in which we will enjoy many treats and comfort foods. The Department of Health would like to remind and encourage the community to eat as healthy as you can. We also would like to bring awareness to National Diabetes Month by providing education on the disease and prevention methods. Too often, diabetes goes unnoticed in our community! 

Did you know there are three (3) types of diabetes?

1. Gestational Diabetes: A condition experienced by pregnant women with no prior history of diabetes, but have high blood glucose (sugar) levels during pregnancy. 

2. Type 1 Diabetes: A chronic condition usually diagnosed in children, where the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is the hormone needed to transport glucose (sugar used for energy) from the bloodstream into the cells of the body.

3. Type 2 Diabetes: A condition where your body does not use insulin properly, which causes your blood glucose levels to rise higher than normal. This is the most common form of diabetes. 

And did you know that every 23 seconds, someone in the United States is diagnosed with diabetes? As of 2012, estimates revealed that 1 in 11 (more than 29 million) Americans had diabetes. This number is expected to increase by over a million newly diagnosed cases each year. Type 2 diabetes can be developed at any age, and in most cases can be prevented. One out of four (4) people do not know they have diabetes, and one (1) out of three (3) people will develop the disease in their lifetime. Could you be at risk? 

There are also an additional 86 million Americans (1 out of 3 adults) who have prediabetes, these individuals are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is the result of your blood sugar level being higher than normal but not high enough (as yet) to be diagnosed type 2 diabetes. Did you know that nine (9) out of 10 people do not know they have prediabetes. Could one be you? 

Diabetes not only affects the individual with the disease, but family, friends, caregivers and the community on a whole feels the burden. Adults with diabetes are 50% more likely to die than adults without diabetes. Medical costs for people with diabetes are twice as high, compared to people without diabetes. People who have diabetes are at higher risk of serious health complications such as blindness; kidney failure; heart disease; stroke; and loss of toes, feet, or legs. 

Who is at risk for type 2 diabetes? If you are overweight, have a family history of diabetes, or had gestational diabetes, you may be at a high risk than others for type 2 diabetes. To determine your risk for diabetes, take the diabetes risk test at www.cdc.gov/diabetes. To find out if you have prediabetes or diabetes, get your blood sugar tested. 

What can you do to remain healthy? In order to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes, you must maintain a healthy weight, eat healthy, and be physically active. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you can manage your condition by working with a health professional, staying physically active, and eating healthy. 

Every November, the American Diabetes Association recognizes American Diabetes Month. The Virgin Islands Department of Health Chronic Disease Prevention Program would like to join the nation in directing our attention to all persons affected by diabetes and to increase awareness about the disease. 

To spark a national conversation, the American Diabetes Association is asking people to share their stories about what it truly means to live with diabetes with a new campaign, “This is Diabetes.” If you share your stories on social media, use the #ThisIsDiabetes. For more information on diabetes and prediabetes, visit http://doh.vi.gov, www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention or www.diabetes.org

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