The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a statement today to raise awareness about diabetes, and called the condition a “devastating disease around the world,” according to HHS secretary Kathleen Sibelius.

The statement said that more than 340 million people worldwide have diabetes. The condition is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and affects millions of other Americans of all ages.

November is World Diabetes Month and the 14th is World Diabetes Day. The statement stressed that although there’s been plenty of progress in treating diabetes, the disease is the leading cause of many illnesses, such as kidney failure, lower-limb amputations not caused by injury, new cases of blindness among American adults and a major cause of heart disease and stroke.

But the good news is that researchers have continued to study risk factors and preventive measures for type 1 diabetes, and proper diet and exercise can help prevent type 2 diabetes.

To read the statement, click here.