Diabetes Research and Advocacy Groups Unite Against Disease

The American Diabetes Association and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation joined forces with the Utah Department of Health today (Wednesday) on World Diabetes Day to raise awareness of the growing pandemic. Laura Western, Executive Director of the Utah Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation says more than 177,000 Utah residents live with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

“Type 1 is actually an autoimmune disease where your body resists insulin completely. Type 2 is a metabolic disease; the insulin in your system is not used effectively so it’s kind of a slowing of the pancreas. If it’s in their genes, if you will, and if they have a propensity towards it, then it is very troubling,”she says.

Western says the rate of diabetes is particularly high among Pacific Islanders in Utah with nearly 13.7 percent of its population living with the disease. Tesh West, a youth advocate with the American Diabetes Association, says prevention outreach and education is key to keep the approximately 79-million Americans with pre-diabetes from developing the disease.

“It’s really very prominent in individuals of ethnic minorities and we heard representation from Pacific Islanders, African Americans, and Hispanic groups who are greatly at risk. Those particular groups of society definitely need to go to their doctor and have their blood sugar tested and make sure they don’t have pre diabetes and that they are staying healthy,” she says.

There are more than 286 million people worldwide living with diabetes. Estimates show as many as one in three adults in the U.S. could have diabetes by the year 2050.

The American Diabetes Association, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and Utah Department of Health unite for World Diabetes Day.