OCALA — The Florida Department of Health in Marion County recognizes November as National Diabetes Month, a time set aside every year to raise awareness about diabetes and promote the importance of taking steps to confront diabetes as a critical health issue. The theme for National Diabetes Month this year is “Take Diabetes to Heart” and highlights the link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
“Diabetes is one of the significant health challenges our community will continue to face in the years ahead,” said Florida Department of Health in Marion County Administrator Mark Lander. “The good news is that it’s easy to identify if you are at risk for diabetes, and there are simple changes you can make in your day-to-day life that can help prevent the onset of diabetes or manage your diabetes if you already have it.”
In Florida, it is estimated that more than 2.4 million people have diabetes and more than 5.8 million have prediabetes. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death for all races according to state data. The number of people diagnosed with diabetes has more than tripled in the last 20 years in the U.S.
The three most common types of diabetes are Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant). Prediabetes can lead to Type 2 diabetes.
A blood test from your health care provider can determine if you have diabetes or prediabetes. Early treatment can prevent serious problems diabetes can cause, such as loss of eyesight, kidney damage, stroke, nerve damage and foot problems. An estimated 8.1 million Americans have diabetes but don’t know it. Find out your risk for developing diabetes at https://doihaveprediabetes.org/.
There isn’t a cure yet for the disease, but a healthy lifestyle can reduce its impact on the lives of those who have it. Thanks to better treatments, people with diabetes are now living longer (and with a better quality of life) than ever before.
The Department of Health in Marion County is involved in diabetes prevention and management in several ways. The department holds Diabetes Education and Empowerment classes and trains community health workers who help clients manage their diabetes or other chronic illnesses. For information on upcoming diabetes classes or community health worker opportunities, please contact Demi Danso-Odei at 352-644-2618. To learn more about diabetes prevention and self-management online, visit www.floridahealth.gov/diabetes.