This November, American Diabetes Month, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck is encouraging Illinois residents to learn their risk factors for diabetes and how to reduce or eliminate them.
Diabetes is a serious chronic disease caused when blood sugar (glucose) levels are above normal and a hormone called insulin is not able to help glucose get into the cells. This causes sugar to build up in the blood. If left undiagnosed or untreated, diabetes can lead to serious health problems, including kidney failure, blindness, heart attacks, strokes and amputations.
“Knowing how to control your risk factors is important,” said Hasbrouck, who encourages residents to talk with their health care providers to identify their risk factors and develop a plan to control or eliminate them.
The percentage of Illinois adults diagnosed with diabetes rose 60 percent between 1995 and 2010, and it is projected the number of diagnosed diabetes cases will rise another 25 percent by the year 2020. In 2013, about 969,000 adults and 7,500 children had diabetes in Illinois.
The good news is that people with diabetes can lower their chance of having diabetes-related problems by managing their diabetes ABCs:
- Have an A1C blood test, which measures the average glucose level over the past three months
- Get your blood pressure checked
- Know your cholesterol level
- Stop smoking
An estimated one out of every four people is unaware that they have diabetes. The signs of the disease include frequent thirst, constant urination, unusual hunger, rapid weight loss, fatigue and blurred vision. To learn more about diabetes and to take a test to determine your risk, go to http://www.idph.state.il.us/diabetes/index.htm.