~ Eighteenth Annual American Diabetes Alert Day

The American Diabetes Association 'Sounds the Alert' for More Than Six Million Americans Who Have Diabetes But Don't Know It - 18th Annual American Diabetes Alert Day Held on March 28, 2006

PR Newswire, 03-23-06

ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 23, 2006 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- On Tuesday, March 28, 2006, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) will "Sound the Alert" about diabetes. Diabetes is the fifth deadliest disease in the United States, 1.5 million people are diagnosed each year and, despite aggressive research efforts, there remains no cure in sight. Even with this high degree of visibility and vast scope, almost one-third of those affected by diabetes, or more than six million people, are not aware that they have the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced that diabetes now affects 20.8 million Americans, a 14 percent increase from the numbers reported by the CDC in 2003. In addition, approximately 41 million Americans have pre-diabetes, which means that their blood glucose (sugar) is higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Without intervention, individuals with pre-diabetes are at a much higher risk for developing diabetes. The American Diabetes Association takes the opportunity of "Alert Day" to help identify the undiagnosed and those at risk by educating people about diabetes risk factors and warning signs.

Unfortunately, people with type 2 diabetes can live for years without realizing that they have the disease. While people with diabetes can exhibit noticeable symptoms, such as frequent urination, blurred vision and excessive thirst, most people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes do not show these overt warning signs at the time that they develop the disease. Often, type 2 diabetes only becomes evident when people develop one or more of its serious complications, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye damage and nerve damage that can lead to amputations.

"Diabetes is a serious disease, and its complications can be devastating," said Robert Rizza, MD, President, Medicine & Science, American Diabetes Association. "The good news is that with early detection and treatment, those complications -- as well as the disease itself -- can be prevented or delayed. The American Diabetes Association hopes that this Alert Day will encourage millions of Americans to find out if they could be at risk for diabetes or could be living with the disease and not know it."

To help people better recognize their own risk for type 2 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association provides a simple, seven-question Diabetes Risk Test. The Risk Test, in English or Spanish, is available in brochure form by calling the Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or can be taken online at http://www.diabetes.org/risktest.

Among the primary risk factors for type 2 diabetes are being overweight, sedentary, over the age of 45 and having a family history of diabetes. African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders are at an increased risk, as are women who have had babies weighing more than nine pounds at birth.

This year, to further support the goals of Diabetes Alert Day, ADA has the assistance of several national corporate and media sponsors, including Rite Aid Pharmacy and Discovery Health Channel.

As in previous years, Rite Aid Pharmacy will be distributing the Diabetes Risk Test to customers visiting any of their 3,400 stores on March 28, Diabetes Alert Day. All Rite Aid pharmacies will continue to have the test available for customers to further the Alert Day cause and to stress the importance of diabetes awareness every day of the year. Rite Aid also sponsors a page on the ADA's Web site called "Ask the Pharmacist." This feature allows visitors to submit questions about diabetes management and receive guidance from a Rite Aid pharmacist.

To bring even more awareness to diabetes detection and prevention, a national media sponsor, Discovery Health Channel has dedicated on-air time on their network to this cause. Discovery Health Channel will be producing three, 60-second "Daily Rounds" spots about diabetes, with the first spot airing on March 28, Alert Day.

Beyond these national initiatives, American Diabetes Alert Day operates essentially as a grassroots campaign, with awareness activities taking place in many cities across the country.

About the American Diabetes Association

The American Diabetes Association is the nation's leading voluntary health organization supporting diabetes research, information, and advocacy. Founded in 1940, the Association has offices in every region of the country, providing services to hundreds of communities. To get a copy of the diabetes risk test or to get diabetes-related information (in English or Spanish), please visit http://www.diabetes.org or call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383).

SOURCE American Diabetes Association

CONTACT: Rachel Morgan of the American Diabetes Association, +1-703-549-1500 ext. 2290


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