EDINBURG –To raise public awareness about the importance of diabetes, and to encourage the public education about the resources available on the disease, Commissioners Court proclaimed November 14 as World Diabetes Day.

The International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization started World Diabetes Day in 1991 in response to the escalating health threat posed by diabetes. It has since become the world’s largest diabetes awareness campaign.

"We want to thank you for having us here to bring awareness to diabetes," said Rio Grande Valley Diabetes Association Co-founder and Chairman of the Board Amir Elsayed. "Diabetes is the third leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer; it's important to be tested and we urge the community to become educated on the disease."

Diabetes is a leading cause of heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and lower limb amputation. One in two people with diabetes are undiagnosed, that equals 212 million people worldwide who do not know they are diabetic.

"We are constantly promoting awareness of diabetes," said RGV Diabetes Association CEO Diana F. Ramirez. "We hold events on a regular basis and invite the community to come out and support the cause; we host cooking classes, children's camps, and fundraisers annually."

The theme for World Diabetes Day focuses on the family to raise awareness of the impact that diabetes has on the family and to promote the role of family in the management, care, prevention, and education of the condition.

"Please join us on November 14 for World Diabetes Day, we will be at the Mission Event Center at 6 p.m. where we will have information available for all those affected by the disease," Elsayed said. "We want to also remind you all to wear blue next week in honor of diabetes awareness."

Hidalgo County has adopted several employee and community healthy living initiatives, and encourages all residents to help fight this disease and its deadly complications by increasing awareness of the risk factors for diabetes, and providing support to those suffering from diabetes.