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November is national diabetes awareness month

SPRINGVILLE — November is National Diabetes Month, and Erie County is promoting heightened awareness, in conjunction with a statewide focus on chronic disease management, this year.

According to the Erie County Department of Health, diabetes is currently the most rapidly growing chronic disease, as it affects almost one out of every 11 adult Erie County residents. The number of people in Erie County who have diabetes has more than doubled since 1994, and it is likely that number will double again, by the year 2050, according to health statistics researchers.

More than 101,000 Erie County residents have been diagnosed with diabetes and an estimated 21,000 people currently have diabetes, but are unaware of their status because diabetes’ symptoms may be overlooked or misunderstood. Average yearly health care costs for a person with diabetes are $11,744, compared to $2,560 for a person without diabetes.

“It is imperative that individuals at risk of developing diabetes, or in the prediabetes stage, take action to prevent developing Type 2 diabetes,” said Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “Prediabetes is when blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.”

In Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, the body either cannot make enough insulin or cannot use its own insulin as well as it should. The cause of Type 2 diabetes is largely unknown, but genetics and lifestyle can contribute. Type 2 diabetes has been strongly linked to obesity, a family history of diabetes and inactivity.

“Having diabetes along with other medical conditions greatly raises your risk for other conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, depression, blindness and dental (periodontal) disease,” added Burstein. “There is no known way to cure Type 2 diabetes, but it can be controlled by keeping the level of sugar in the blood within a normal range.”

There are numerous local resources available for residents to learn more. Bertrand Chaffee Hospital and the Springville Concord Elder Network run programming that can help those with diabetes manage their disease. More information on the hospital’s programs can be found at www.bertrandchaffee.com and seniors can learn more about SCENe’s efforts by calling 592-7599. In addition, residents can visit the the Erie County Department of Health, at www.erie.gov/health/ or the New York State Department of Health, at www.health.ny.gov/statistics/diseases/conditions/diabetes/index.htm for more information and tools for detection and management.
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