TOPEKA -- November is National Diabetes Month and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is partnering with the Kansas Diabetes Action Council to raise awareness about the importance of setting goals and making a plan to prevent type 2 diabetes and diabetes-related complications.
Diabetes affects nearly 26 million Americans and an estimated 79 million people are at risk for developing the disease.
Kansas has not escaped this growing epidemic. In 2010, there were about 8.4% of Kansas adults – roughly 179,000 – that had been diagnosed with diabetes. In addition, Kansas experienced an alarming trend during the period from 2000 through 2010 as adult Kansans diagnosed with diabetes increased from 5.9% in 2000 to 8.4% in 2010 – a 42% increase. And this occurs not without cost. Treating diabetes in the United States costs about $174 billion a year – and in Kansas, $1.5 billion a year.
Diabetes is often accompanied by a of myriad challenges. Kansans diagnosed with diabetes have a significantly higher prevalence of high blood pressure (64.5%) and high cholesterol (60.8%) as compared to those who don’t have diabetes (25.3% and 36.0% respectively). If not managed well, diabetes can lead to complications, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, lower extremity amputation and premature death.
Being overweight (body mass index 25-29 kg/m2) or obese (body mass index > 30 kg/m2) and being a diabetic are strongly associated. As a result, the prevalence of diabetes is significantly higher among adult Kansans who are obese (16.1%) compared to those who are not obese (5.4%). Currently, two in three adult Kansans (64.5% or about 1.4 million) are either overweight or obese – greatly increasing the risk of developing diabetes and making it more difficult to manage the disease for those already living with this challenge.
"These statistics show how important it is to prevent type 2 diabetes and to help those who have diabetes better manage the disease to prevent serious complications,” said Robert Moser, MD, KDHE Secretary and State Health Officer. “Through early detection and management of blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, diabetes and its complications can be prevented or delayed.”
Studies have shown that it can make a big difference if people work to lose only 5 to 7 percent of their body weight. “For many people, this works out to about 7 to 10 pounds – and even if someone who already has diabetes, losing a moderate amount of weight can dramatically slow the progression of the disease,” explained Alan Carter, PharmD, Chair, Kansas Diabetes Action Council. “Blood pressure and cholesterol levels also benefit when just this small percentage of body weight is lost.”
“With more Kansans becoming affected by diabetes and its consequences every day, we must work together to better prevent, manage and treat this disease,” said Moser.
Are you at risk for Type 2 or pre-diabetes? Find out by taking a diabetes risk test at: www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/prevention/diabetes-risk-test/. Please visit the Kansas Diabetes Action Council website for diabetes information and resources: www.kansasdiabetesactioncouncil.org
For more information, please contact KDHE’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Program at (785) 291-3739.