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November is Diabetes Awareness Month

The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council will release a report tomorrow examining numbers for diabetes-related hospitalizations based on age, race, gender, and geographic regions in the state. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18.8 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes. Another 7 million are believed to have the disease but haven't been diagnosed.

This month, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has been urging people to take control of their health and get screened for diabetes as part of National Diabetes Awareness Month.

Leslie Best, director of the department's Bureau of Health Promotion and Risk, said that they have some specific goals.

"To make people aware of their risks for diabetes, what they can do to lower their risks for diabetes, and how important it is to talk to their healthcare provider and get screened for diabetes if they are at risk for it," Best said, listing some of those goals.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that comes in two forms. If the pancreas doesn't produce insulin, that is called Type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is when the body either doesn't produce insulin, or cannot use the insulin that is produced.

Best said that diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in Pennsylvania. "We believe it's related to the growing obesity problem that's being experienced nationally," said Best. "Currently about 9 percent of the adult population of Pennsylvania, which is almost 880,000 adults, have been diagnosed with diabetes."

She said that the key to combating or preventing diabetes is to manage weight. People should keep to a proper diet consisting of a lot of fruits and vegetables and maintain a physically active lifestyle.