In observance of World Diabetes Day and Diabetes Awareness Month, Health and Senior Services Commissioner Dr. Poonam Alaigh recommended that all New Jersey residents reduce their salt and sweet intake during the holidays and be aware of the risk factors, signs and symptoms of this serious health concern.
“Diabetes is a chronic illness that kills 200 people per day across the nation,” said Dr. Alaigh. “It is also a disease that is, in many cases, entirely preventable. Eating healthy, exercising, losing excess weight and living a healthy lifestyle greatly reduces the odds of developing diabetes. I ask everyone to make good nutritional choices, stay active and be alert for the following symptoms that may indicate the onset of diabetes: unusual thirst, extreme hunger, unusual weight loss, fatigue and irritability.”
Left untreated or improperly managed, diabetes can lead to heart, kidney and eye disease, erectile dysfunction, nerve damage, and ultimately death.
An estimated 473,000 New Jersey adults 18 years and older, 7.2 % of the population, have been diagnosed with diabetes. An additional 190,000 people have diabetes, but have not been diagnosed. Nationally, nearly 24 million children and adults in the United States are living with diabetes, and an additional 57 million Americans are at risk.
The cost of diabetes care—direct and indirect—is estimated at $200 billion.
Those who are over 45, obese, have high cholesterol and members of minority and multicultural populations including African Americans, Asians, South Asians and Hispanics are especially at risk. In fact, deaths from diabetes are nearly 3 times higher among African Americans and 1.4 times higher among Hispanics than among Whites.
Diabetes is a disease which is preventable and complications can be reduced by better control and management.