Nearly one in eight Mississippians have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. That makes Mississippi the state with the second highest rate of diabetes in the nation. But health officials and others say simple education could help prevent more people from developing the potentially deadly disease.
More than 256,000 Mississippians diagnosed with type-two diabetes, a disease which could lead to lower extremity amputations, kidney disease, blindness, heart disease and death. Doctor Zeb Henson is an Internist at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He says Mississippi's high rate of type-two-diabetes is a result of obesity..
"Obesity is not by any means the leading cause of Type Two Diabetes," says Henson. "We have several patients that are normal body weight that develop Type Two Diabetes; there is a genetic component to it. But obesity is by far and away number one risk factor for developing Type Two Diabetes."
More than 35 percent of Mississippians are considered obese. Yet, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control, the rates of newly diagnosed cases of type two diabetes maybe starting to plateau. Irena McClain is from the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi. She says educating people on lifestyle changes is the key to preventing more cases in the state.
"We can probably prevent about 58 percent of the new on set cases of Type Two Diabetes, the more common form of the disease by lifestyle changes," McClain says. "Losing seven to ten percent of your total body weight through exercise and healthy eating can cut down on insulin resistance which is one of the things that contribute to developing Type Two Diabetes."
African-Americans and Hispanics are more than 66 percent more likely to develop the disease than whites.