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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 14, 2007

IDHS celebrates first Worldwide Diabetes Day
Gov. Blagojevich issues state proclamation to support awareness effort; Sears Tower among hundreds of world landmarks to light up in blue

CHICAGO – Marking the first World Diabetes Day, Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D., today urged all Illinoisans to learn more about diabetes and how it can be prevented and controlled through diet and exercise.  According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, more than 750,000 Illinoisans have diabetes. Governor Rod R. Blagojevich proclaimed Wednesday, November 14, World Diabetes Awareness Day in Illinois to correspond with the national celebration.

“Diabetes is a serious and costly disease that can affect anyone, young and old, men and women,” said Adams,   “Through public awareness, prevention and control, and research, we’re joining the fight against this disease and providing hope for people who have diabetes.”

The theme of this year's World Diabetes Day campaign is Diabetes in Children and Adolescents. Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood.  It can strike children at any age, including pre-school children and even toddlers.

A locally-organized Windy City Walk for Diabetes will be held at 12:00 noon today beginning at the John Hancock Building and continuing south down Michigan Avenue.

The General Assembly of the United Nations, last year, passed a landmark resolution recognizing diabetes as a chronic, debilitating and costly disease. The resolution designates World Diabetes Day on November 14 as a United Nations Day to be observed every year starting in 2007.  More information is available at: http://www.worlddiabetesday.org/

Last year, Gov. Blagojevich signed legislation to create the Illinois State Diabetes Commission.  They met for the first time in May of 2007 and are working to develop a strategy for prevention, treatment and control of diabetes.

Also, the Diabetes Research Check Off Fund, created by the governor in 2005, has received enough donations to remain on the Illinois Income Tax forms for another year.  The fund provides more than $100,000 annually for diabetes research. 

Money collected in this fund is given to the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) to provide grants for Diabetes research. Taxpayers may contribute to the fund by indicating on their income tax return form the amount they wish to donate. The donation either increases the amount the taxpayer owes or reduces the refund.  IDHS distributes donations to fund approved research projects for juvenile diabetes.   The money contributed through the Diabetes Research Check off Fund is divided equally between the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) to support diabetes research.

Local health departments and community health centers participate in the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Diabetes Prevention and Control Program Case Management/Disease Management Awareness program.  Twenty-eight local health departments and community health centers across the state receive funding to assess the needs of individuals with diabetes in their communities.  Through partnerships with the American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, Department of Public Health and University of Illinois Extension efforts are being made to provide quality diabetes and health education.

According to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) currently 753,056 adults in Illinois have been told by their healthcare provider that they have diabetes, another 376,000 may have undiagnosed diabetes.  BRFSS is a state-based program that gathers information on risk factors among Illinois adults 18 years of age and older through monthly telephone surveys

Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness among most adults and it’s important to have regular yearly exams.  DHS has collaborated with optometrists and ophthalmologists in Illinois on the Eye Care Aware program that provides free exams for eligible persons with diabetes.

Diabetes also contributes to foot problems and free foot screenings are available for eligible persons with diabetes through the Foot Care Aware program.  Foot examinations by a podiatrist are important for early detection of diabetes-related problems that could lead to amputation.

“People with diabetes can prevent or delay the progression of complications through changes in lifestyle, by practicing goal-oriented management of blood glucose, lipids and blood pressure, receiving diabetes self-management education, eating healthy foods, increasing physical activity,  maintaining a healthy body weight, and receiving recommended eye and foot examinations,” said IDHS Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D.

It’s estimated that more than 18 million people in the U.S. have Diabetes and more than a million people are newly diagnosed each year.  Factors that contribute to adults developing Diabetes include obesity, sedentary lifestyle and age.

Diabetes is the fifth-deadliest disease in the nation. It’s estimated that three million people in Illinois are at risk for developing Diabetes, but research has shown that a proper diet and exercise are effective in preventing and controlling the disease. 

In Illinois, diabetes both type 2 and type 1 account for nearly $7.3 billion in total direct healthcare and indirect costs every year. It is estimated that the direct medical care costs per person per year with diabetes is 4.3 times higher than the person without diabetes.



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