November 14 was celebrated as the State of Illinois' first Diabetes Awareness Day as a result of a new law designed to increase public awareness of the disease.
Residents around the state were able to take part in free diabetes screenings in celebration. An event was held at SwedishAmerican Medical Center in Belvidere during the morning. Twenty-nine people were seen.
Governor Pat Quinn, House Minority Leader Tom Cross, and advocates from the Illinois Diabetes Policy Coalition gathered in Chicago on Wednesday to celebrate the day.
"The members of the IDPC are thrilled to be partnering with Governor Quinn, Leader Cross, and the members of the Illinois Diabetes Legislative Caucus to mark an annual day dedicated to the awareness, education, and prevention of diabetes," IDPC Co-Chair Kate O'Connor said. "With nearly 900,000 people in Illinois living with diabetes and many more at-risk, this disease remains an important and critical public health issue that requires collaboration between public and private entities to provide on-going support and education."
Diabetes is the leading cause of chronic kidney disease, non-traumatic lower-limb amputations, heart disease, stroke, and new cases of blindness among adults in the United States. The number of people in Illinois with diabetes has doubled over the last 20 years to about 800,000 in 2011.