Oklahoma, www.OK.gov <{$map[0].NAME}>

Contact  |  A-Z Health Index  |  Events & Meetings

get adobe reader

FOR RELEASE: December 3, 2002
CONTACT: Pamela Williams

Knowing the Facts about Diabetes Can Save Lives

Diabetes is a serious disease affecting more than 220,000 Oklahomans and costing about $98 million a year, according to officials at the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH). However, with proper diet, exercise and monitoring, people with diabetes can learn to control it and live quality lives.

“The number one goal of diabetes control is to monitor blood sugar levels. There are many ways this can be done. People with diabetes should test their blood sugar daily, maintain a healthy diet, get regular exercise, and take their medications as indicated by their doctor,” said OSDH Chronic Disease Services Chief Adeline Yerkes, RN, MPH.

Diabetes affects the way your body uses food for energy. Normally the body turns food into sugar that is distributed to the cells of the body for energy. Turning food into energy is very important, because the body requires food to perform daily activities such as thinking, walking, and running.

“When you have diabetes, something goes wrong and the body cannot get the sugar it needs into the cells of the body. As a result, the body does not get the fuel it needs for activities and blood sugar stays too high,” Yerkes said. “Although your blood sugar can be high, you can still feel fine, because diabetes is silent. You can have diabetes for many years and have no symptoms.”

Some of the warning signs of diabetes are:

  • Unusual thirst and hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Recurring skin, gum, yeast or bladder infections

“If you experience any of these signs, talk to your doctor about getting tested for diabetes,” said Yerkes. Oklahomans who are more likely to develop diabetes include:

  • Those with a parent, brother, or sister who has or had diabetes
  • Overweight individuals
  • Oklahomans who do not exercise regularly
  • African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans or Native Americans
  • Oklahomans over the age of 45
  • Women who had gestational diabetes

“Likewise, if you belong to any of these groups, talk to your doctor about getting tested for diabetes,” Yerkes added.

Controlling diabetes early can prevent health problems later on, and lessen the chances of developing eye disease, blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, nerve damage, or stroke.

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


Creating a State of Health Logo