The Centers for Disease Control says rates of diabetes nationally may be starting to plateau. MPB’s Evelina Burnett looks at what this could mean for Mississippi, which has the seconnd highest rate of diabetes in the nation.
Linda Geiss with the CDC says after almost two decades of growth, the diabetes epidemic appears to be leveling off – though not at the same rate for everyone.
"For example, the rate of new cases and existing cases continued to increase in Hispanics, non-Hispanic blacks and those with less than a high school education," she says.
In Mississippi, the rate of diabetes has doubled in the past 20 years. It continued to inch up from 2008 to 2012, the years that it plateaued around the nation. There are now close to 300,000 Mississippians with diabetes.
Deborah Colby with Gulf Coast Health Educators says there are also many who have pre-diabetes.
"There are 86 million people in the country right now that have pre-diabetes, and the alarming thing is that only 11 million people know they have it," she says.
Gulf Coast Health Educators is now offering a CDC-recommended diabetes prevention program. The Mississippi Gulf Coast Black Nurses Association will also soon be offering the program, says the group’s president Romeatrius Moss. It's part of the organization's efforts to educate the community about the disease.
"Diabetes is a disease that affects you from your head to your toes -literally," Moss says. "It affects your eyes, your fingers, your kidneys, you could lose your limbs - there are so many things where this disease can cripple you. So we want people to understand what this disease is and what it does to you, and how it's important that you take control of it.
In 2012, more than 12 percent of Mississippi adults had type 2 diabetes.