CHICAGO – November 14, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn and House Minority Leader Tom Cross today joined advocates from the Illinois Diabetes Policy Coalition (IDPC) to mark the first Diabetes Awareness Day in Illinois. Illinois residents can take advantage of free diabetes screenings available across the state today, and a list of locations can be viewed at www.ildpc.org. Diabetes Awareness Day in Illinois is the result of a new law signed this summer by the governor to increase public awareness of diabetes.
“Knowledge is power and being proactive about diabetes can save lives and help so many people who don’t know about all the treatment options they have,” Governor Quinn said. “By working together to raise awareness and strengthen our healthcare system, we can improve the health of the people of Illinois.”
“You or someone you know may have diabetes and not even be aware of it,” said Leader Cross. “While Type 1 Diabetes cannot be prevented, Type 2 Diabetes is a metabolic disorder than can be prevented or delayed with a healthy lifestyle. Early detection and treatment are key to preventing the side effects of diabetes such as blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and stroke, which is why we are using Diabetes Day to raise awareness about the disease and to encourage everyone to get their blood sugar screened.”
In July, Governor Quinn signed House Bill 5003, sponsored by House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) and Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) to officially designate November 14th as Diabetes Awareness Day in Illinois. November is American Diabetes Month, and more than 800,000 Illinois residents are living with the disease, double the number 20 years ago. In partnership with the IDPC, almost two dozen locations throughout Illinois will offer free diabetes screenings. The screenings were set up by the Illinois Hospital Association, Novo Nordisk and the Illinois Legislative Diabetes Caucus.
“The members of the IDPC are thrilled to be partnering with Governor Quinn, Leader Cross and the members of the Illinois Diabetes Legislative Caucus to mark an annual day dedicated to the awareness, education and prevention of diabetes. With nearly 900,000 people in Illinois living with diabetes and many more at-risk, this disease remains an important and critical public health issue that requires collaboration between public and private entities to provide on-going support and education,” said Kate O’Connor, co-chair of the Illinois Diabetes Policy Coalition.
In Illinois, diabetes remains the leading cause of chronic kidney disease, non-traumatic lower-limb amputations, heart disease, stroke and new cases of blindness among adults in the U.S. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the number of Illinois residents who have diabetes has more than doubled over the past 20 years, reaching approximately 800,000 in 2011. The department also estimates that an additional 500,000 people are unaware they have the disease. Of Illinois adults with diabetes, 18.6 percent are 65 years of age or older. Diabetes-related care in Illinois costs around $7.3 billion each year.
For more information please visit: www.idph.state.il.us or www.ildpc.org.