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Diabetes campaign under way

Knowing the warning signs of diabetes is the message of a new public awareness campaign launched by the Utah Department of Health Diabetes Prevention and Control Program.

The campaign wants to reduce the number of Utahns with undiagnosed diabetes by increasing knowledge of the risk factors and symptoms of the disease. Television and radio ads will encourage the public to be screened for diabetes at free clinics statewide through March.

Program leaders estimate about 40,000 Utahns don't know they have diabetes, though the disease is slowly attacking their bodies. Left untreated, diabetes can cause heart attacks, strokes, blindness, amputation, kidney disease and other serious complications.

Special emphasis is being placed on those 45 and older, one of the risk factors. Others include being overweight, a family history of diabetes, ethnicity and being a woman who had a baby weighing more than 9 pounds at birth.

Even those not at high risk can get diabetes, so people need to watch for warning signs, including blurry vision, tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, constant fatigue, frequent thirst and frequent urination.

To find screening dates, times and locations, call the Utah Department of Health Resource line at 1-888-222-2542 or the American Diabetes Association at 1-888-342-2383.