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FOR RELEASE: March 20, 2001
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

Sound the Diabetes Alert!

The Oklahoma State Department of Health and the American Diabetes Association urge Oklahomans to discover their risk for a silent killer that causes life-threatening complications such as blindness, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and amputations.

“Sound the diabetes alert!” is a call to action for Oklahomans to determine if they are at risk for diabetes and to be tested. According to state health officials, approximately 320,000 people in Oklahoma have diabetes and this number is growing. Unfortunately, more than one-third of people with diabetes do not know that they have this disease and therefore cannot take action to avoid the health problems associated with it.

Diabetes is a serious disease that affects the way your body uses food for energy. When someone has diabetes, something goes wrong and the body can't get blood sugar into the cells. As a result, the body doesn't get the fuel it needs to perform activities such as walking and blood sugar stays to high.

Even with high blood sugar, you can still feel fine, because diabetes is silent. You can have it for years without having any symptoms or complications. Some of the warning signs that Oklahomans should look for include: extreme thirst, frequent urination, blurry vision, unusual tiredness, and unexplained weight loss. Talk to your health care provider if you experience any of these symptoms.

Diabetes occurs among Oklahomans of all ages and racial/ethnic groups, but the following individuals are more likely to develop this disease:

  • Oklahomans over the age of 45
  • Those with a family history of diabetes
  • Oklahomans who are overweight.
  • African American, Hispanics/Latinos, and Native Americans
  • Oklahoma women who had gestational diabetes
  • Women who have had a baby weighing more than 9 pounds

There is no cure for diabetes, but the good news is that it can be controlled. Keeping blood sugar levels as close as possible to normal, taking medications as prescribed, maintaining a healthy meal plan, and getting regular physical activity can all help prevent or delay the complications associated with diabetes.

For more information about diabetes, contact your health care provider; county health department; the American Diabetes Association, Tulsa Regional Office at 1-800-259-6552, Oklahoma City Regional Office at 1-800-259-6551; the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation at 1-800-JDF-CURE; or the Diabetes Control and Prevention Program at 1-888- 669-5934.

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