Wednesday is World Diabetes Day, and to recognize the day, the Florida Historic Capitol was lit in blue, the universal color of diabetes. The state’s health officials partnered with others to recognize those who are battling the disease as well as shed light on ways to prevent the growing disease.
“Look out for anyone with diabetes, get physicals and checkups, and prevent anything you can and have a healthy diet," said Haley May.
The 16-year-old is giving some tips to Floridians who may not know they have diabetes.
She’s a huge diabetes advocate and was there on the steps of the Old Florida Capitol along with members of the Florida Department of Health Wednesday to talk about the importance of diabetes awareness, especially since this issue is near and dear to her heart.
“In 2007, I had a routine physical, and they told me my blood sugar was 400," said Hayley. "So, we packed and I went to Tallahassee Memorial hospital, and stayed there for a few days s and we learned to count carbs and calculate insulin.”
Diabetes is a disease where people have high blood sugar, and there are several types. Hayley has Type 1 diabetes. More than 76,000 Floridians may be living with Type 1 diabetes, which requires constant attention to manage.
The most common form of diabetes is Type 2, or adult-onset diabetes. It can be prevented or delayed, but Type 1 cannot.
Some of the earlier symptoms for diabetes can include excessive thirst, excessive urination, and being tired or listless.
And, Dr. Dennis Cookro with the Florida Department of Health says it’s important people are aware that they could be experiencing symptoms of diabetes and should get checked out. He also encourages those who don’t have diabetes to try and walk in the shoes of someone who does have diabetes.
“For those who don’t have diabetes, spend one week, just take one week, to practice eating a diet that’s good for diabetes, and exercise in a way that a person with diabetes should exercise to try and control their disease. And, do that, may be with some friends, and at the end of that week, think back about what it’s like, how you felt,” said Cookro.
There are about three-million Floridians who have diabetes, and many more who may not know they have the disease. And, Cookro says hopefully, the lighting at the Capitol will make people more aware.
And, Shaylah Nunn agrees. She’s the manager of government affairs for Novo Nordisk, the company responsible for putting up the lights around the Florida Capitol to make it shine blue Wednesday evening.
“I hope that people, when they drive by, even if they don’t know necessarily what’s going on, maybe they’ll look and google, ‘Capitol Blue,’ and find out more about diabetes. So, I think that’s one of the biggest takeaways from this event.”
Other places around the world that were lit blue include the Empire State Building, Niagara Falls, and the Pyramids.
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