November is Diabetes Awareness Month and more than 30 million Americans have the disease. Health officials say two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
Unfortunately, the numbers in Georgia are worse.
“Roughly nine percent of the nation is diabetic. In the state of Georgia, the statistics roughly were from 10 to 12 percent of the population. As far as prediabetes estimates are around 33%.”
That’s Dr. Thomas Wells, Regional Medical Director for Primary Care with Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital.
Diabetes means there is too much sugar in the blood, prediabetes means a person’s blood sugar is higher than normal, but still below the diabetic range. Wells says prediabetes does not necessarily mean diabetes is inevitable.
“There are things you can do to help avoid that, improving your fitness level, trying to exercise 30 minutes, five days a week, eating healthier, watching your carbohydrates.”
He adds the consequences of untreated diabetes can be catastrophic.
“Uncontrolled diabetes increases your risk of vascular disease from heart attack, stroke, poor wound healing, kidney disease, chronic kidney injury, diabetic retinopathy where you start having problems with vision.”
According to the CDC, 80 percent of people with prediabetes don’t realize they have it. For more information, visit piedmont.org/diabetes.