Published: Nov 18, 2010 7:41 PM EST
Updated: Nov 18, 2010 4:41 PM EST

TALLAHASSEE, Fla— The Florida Department of Health (DOH) has partnered with the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) during November, which is National Diabetes Awareness Month, to share the important message about knowing one’s family history of diabetes.  Many people who develop type 2 diabetes have one or more family members with the disease.

“You can’t change your family history, but knowing about it and sharing that information with your doctor or other health care provider is an important preventative step,” said State Surgeon General Ana Viamonte Ros, M.D., M.P.H.  “I encourage Floridians to talk with their family members to find out if any close relatives have diabetes, and support each other in taking steps to improve their personal health, which can delay the onset of type 2 diabetes or other chronic diseases.”

More than one million Floridians are living with diabetes.  Approximately one-third of people with diabetes don’t know they have the disease, and people with undiagnosed diabetes may experience damage to the heart, eyes, kidneys, and limbs – without experiencing any symptoms.  It is estimated that another 57 million adults in the U.S. have pre-diabetes, placing them at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

People can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by losing a small amount of weight and becoming more active.  Action steps that can benefit the health of all family members include making healthy food choices and being physically active at least 30 minutes per day for five or more days per week.

In addition, woman who develop gestational diabetes while pregnant, may be at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes in the future, and so are her children from that pregnancy.