Did you know that November is National Diabetes Awareness Month?
Diabetes is a growing problem nationwide and right here in Arizona. To put it in perspective – consider the entire populations of the cities of Flagstaff and Tucson. Combined, that’s approximately how many people are living with diabetes in our state.
Fast Facts from the Arizona Department of Health Services:
- 1 in 10 Arizonans have diabetes.
- Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in Arizona.
- 1 in 3 Arizonans are estimated to have pre-diabetes. That is about 2 million people. Of those, 90% are unaware that they have prediabetes.
- Diabetes creates higher risks for blindness, heart disease, kidney disease, and loss of toes, feet, or legs.
- People living with diabetes are also more than twice as likely to have a stroke and are more prone to suffering from depression.
- The risk of premature death for adults with diabetes is 50% higher than for adults without diabetes.
It is important to note there are two different types of diabetes, each with different causes and potentially very different outcomes. Type 1 diabetes is responsible for roughly 5% of all cases in the United States. This form of diabetes is usually diagnosed in childhood and is likely caused by an autoimmune reaction in the body, and it cannot be prevented.
The overwhelming majority of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, which is typically diagnosed in adulthood. Prevention is possible through early detection of prediabetes, giving us the opportunity to turn things around with diet and exercise changes. The problem is most people with prediabetes, the precursor to type 2 diabetes, don’t even know they have it. It is important to get screened for prediabetes. If you do have it, losing weight by eating healthy and increasing physical activity can lower your risk of getting type 2 diabetes by half.
Resources to understand, prevent, and manage prediabetes, type 1, and type 2 diabetes: AZBlue - Education and Resources
As part of a comprehensive action plan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona is seeking to reduce diabetes progression among members by 25% by 2025. To learn more about the plan, visit: AZBlue - By The Numbers and Defeating Diabetes in Arizona (azblue.com)