State to Fight Diabetes Epidemic

By: Natalie Shepherd
By: Natalie Shepherd

The Michigan Department of Community Health announced a strategic plan Tuesday to raise awareness and help people reduce their risk of developing Type II diabetes. More than 750,000 people in Michigan have diabetes, a serious metabolic disease.

Complications can include blindness and amputation. The state estimates it costs $6 billion a year in direct and indirect costs to care for those patients each year.

And the number of those with Type II diabetes in on the rise. There are 575,000 residents who are at high risk for developing the disease. And that's what the Department of Community Health wants to reduce. Michigan Surgeon General Kimberlydawn Wisdom says reducing weight, improving diet and increasing exercise can reduce your risk for developing Type II diabetes by about 60-percent.

Medical experts say unhealthy lifestyle choices make this disease a problem among children and adults alike. But they also say diabetes is one of the most preventable chronic diseases here in the United States.

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Who Gets Diabetes?

Diabetes is not contagious. People cannot "catch" it from each other. However, certain factors can increase the risk of developing diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes occurs equally among males and females, but is more common in whites than in nonwhites. Data from the World Health Organization's Multinational Project for Childhood Diabetes indicate that type 1 diabetes is rare in most African, American Indian, and Asian populations.

However, some northern European countries, including Finland and Sweden, have high rates of type 1 diabetes. The reasons for these differences are not known.

Type 2 diabetes is more common in older people, especially in people who are overweight, and occurs more often in African Americans, American Indians, Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, and Hispanic Americans.

On average, non-Hispanic African Americans are 1.7 times more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites of the same age.

Hispanic Americans are nearly twice as likely to have diabetes as non-Hispanic whites. American Indians have the highest rates of diabetes in the world. Among the Pima Indians living in Arizona, for example, half of all adults have type 2 diabetes.

The prevalence of diabetes in the United States is likely to increase for several reasons.

First, a large segment of the population is aging. Also, Hispanic Americans and other minority groups make up the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population.

Finally, Americans are increasingly overweight and sedentary. According to recent estimates, the prevalence of diabetes in the United States is predicted to be 8.9 percent of the population by 2025.

Source: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health/diabetes/pubs/dmover/dmover.htm#scope (National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse).


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