The International Diabetes Federation estimates more than 500 million people will have diabetes in the next 20 years. Newschannel 6 learned the numbers are already on the rise in Texoma. Newschannel 6 Natalie Garcia sat down with United Regional to find out what is being done to help stop this growing epidemic.
The growing numbers are shocking, but Julia Canavera, a registered and licensed dietitian with United Regional comments, "Diabetes is a really big crisis here in the Wichita County area. A number of our patients at the hospital are diabetic and that's as much as 60 to 70 percent."
And with a percentage that high Canavara is seeing younger and younger patients either being diagnosed or at high risk of diabetes. She says it typically always roots back to the same issues. "Weight, physical inactivity, and the quality of food is probably the three biggest reasons why we see an increase."
Canavara says most of her diabetic patients have type two diabetes, meaning that persons body does not properly control blood sugar levels in their system. That makes the blood in their veins much more thick and harder to process. "All of sudden it becomes a thick syrup that is going through you. It makes it really hard for your heart to pump all of that. It's really hard for your kidneys to filter all of that. It also makes it hard on your eyes and veins."
United Regional says they trying to raise awareness and educate the public of the multiple illnesses diabetes can cause. Laura Gutierrez with the United Regional Education Department will administer free testing among residents at a number of health fairs throughout the year. She says sometimes with that initial test people find out for the first time they are diabetic.
"Community members that come in and test, we will tell them do you know your blood sugar is high. we say according to the diagnostic criteria you would have diabetes, and sometimes they are surprised and unaware of it."
United Regional says they are seeing more patients asking how they can prevent diabetes and how they can make changes to live a healthier lifestyle.
Click here to find more information on the American Diabetes Association website.