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By Courtney Ellis

November 19, 2018

November 19, 2018

Green Cove Springs, - The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) in Clay County
recognizes November as Diabetes Awareness Month, a month 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 this year is The Family and Diabetes,
strengthening the role of the family in the management, care, prevention, and education
of diabetes.

“According to FL Health Charts, in 2017 Diabetes was the 6th leading cause of death in
Clay County. This chronic disease not only affects an individual it does not discriminate
against the family of those with Diabetes either. Knowledge is power; therefore,
Diabetes Self-Management Education is essential to the continued care and support to
our clients,” said FDOH-Clay’s Administrator, Heather Huffman, MS, RDN, LD/N,
IBCLC. “Utilizing evidence-based curriculum for health education is recommended to
begin in youth and carried into adulthood; teaching Diabetes prevention to children is
important for the future of our health in Clay County.”

The number of people diagnosed with diabetes has more than tripled in the last 20
years in the U.S. In Florida, it is estimated that over 2.4 million people have diabetes
and over 5.8 million have prediabetes. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in

There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes
(diabetes while pregnant). Women with diabetes have more difficulty conceiving and
may have poor pregnancy outcomes, so it is especially important for women to be
aware of their risk factors for developing diabetes, including having a family history of
diabetes as well as age, weight, and physical activity level.

Due to better treatments, people with diabetes are now living longer—and with a better
quality of life—than ever before. Healthy lifestyles can also reduce the impact that
diabetes may have on your life. A blood test from your health care provider can
determine if you have diabetes. Early treatment can prevent serious problems diabetes
can cause, such as loss of eyesight or kidney damage.

When your blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough yet to be diagnosed
as type 2 diabetes you may be at risk for prediabetes. Prediabetes is a serious health
condition that increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, andstroke. Eighty-six million American adults have prediabetes. Nine out of 10 people with
prediabetes don’t know they have it. Fortunately, making healthy lifestyle choices can
delay or prevent type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems. A simple blood
sugar test to find out if you have prediabetes. Talk to your health care provider if you
should be tested.

FDOH in Clay County kicked off Diabetes Awareness month by wearing blue in
recognition of World Diabetes Day on November 14th. Our County Health Department
encourages patients and their families to monitor their nutrition and physical activity
habits as prevention methods. As a way to provide additional information on Diabetes,
our Health Educator is currently planning to begin offering self-management educational
sessions using the Merck conversation maps (4 – 2 hour weekly sessions) for those
who are diabetic and newly diabetic. Weekly sessions are expected to begin early in the
new year. The Department is also working with community partners to identify other
resources for low or no cost diabetes education classes.

To learn more about diabetes prevention and self-management, visit

For more information about National Diabetes Month, visit International Diabetes
Federation American Diabetes Association National Diabetes Month 2018 Toolkit

About the Florida Department of Health
The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works
to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated
state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @HealthyFla. For more information
about the Florida Department of Health, please visit