TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Here’s a startling statistic for you: More than 29-million Americans are diabetic. And here’s another one: One in four doesn’t realize they even have diabetes.
Is that a trend we see here in Vigo County?
The 29-million Americans who have diabetes make up about 9% of the nation’s population. That percentage ticks up a few points when looking at local numbers.
“Here in Vigo County, it’s almost 11%, which also reflects Indiana’s average,” said Joni Wise, who is the administrator for the Vigo County Health Department. Unlike STD’s or the flu, diabetes is not a disease that’s “reportable”.
This means the statistics health officials have come from those who “self-reported,” or personally shared that he or she has diabetes.
“So, we probably have more cases of diabetes than we’re aware of,” said Wise.
The CDC has numbers to back that up as well. One in three or as many as 86-million Americans have pre-diabetes. Their blood-sugar levels are higher than normal, but not at the level of a diabetic.
Without weight loss and changes in diet, some pre-diabetics can develop diabetes in as little as two years. As important as numbers are to health departments, getting people the right care is more important that having accurate numbers.
“It allows a person to make an informed choice, and if that informed choice be reducing their weight or their cigarette usage or seeing a physician, then all the better,” said Wise.
So expect to see more diabetes awareness campaigns from the CDC and local health departments, as well as health initiatives like smoke free laws, or markets that sell produce at reduced prices.
For more information about diabetes, including information on the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program, click here.