Diabetes in North Carolina

Posted Sep 7, 2011 | Posted in Diseases & Treatments

ukcuk892679000_diabetes-77742677If you have diabetes, you are not alone – more than 600,000 people in North Carolina have been diagnosed with diabetes, 10,000 in Johnston County. Learn about diabetes in North Carolina — statistics, risk factors, and health complications — and how you can manage your diabetes at our nationally-recognized education center.

North Carolina Diabetes Statistics

In 2008, North Carolina ranked as having the 17th highest prevalence of diabetes among adults in the U.S.  An estimated 9.3 percent of all adults in the state had diabetes.

It’s the seventh leading cause of death in North Carolina, and for minority groups, that number only increases. Approximately 15.6 percent of the African American population has diabetes, and it’s the fourth leading cause of death for that population.

Most people who have diabetes are elderly – more than one in five of the people over the age of 65 in North Carolina have been diagnosed with diabetes.

Risk Factors

One of the major contributors to Type II diabetes is obesity. In 2008, more than half of the North Carolinians diagnosed with diabetes (51.9 percent) were obese. Inactivity, too, is also a major contributor. Physical activity and exercise not only helps to control blood sugar levels, but it can also help reduce cholesterol. Less than a third of adults with diabetes – 31 percent – said that they either moderately exercised for 30+ minutes five days a week or did vigorous physical activities for 20 minutes three times a week.

Maintaining a healthy diet is an essential part of diabetes prevention. Those with diabetes should consume a diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean proteins. More than 80 percent of people in North Carolina with diabetes did not get the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables.

Smoking, too, is another big risk factor that has devastating consequences for those with diabetes. Since smoking raises blood sugars and reduces the body’s ability to use insulin, smokers are much less likely to have a strong control over their diabetes. Those who smoke and have diabetes are 11 times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than nonsmokers who don’t have the disease. In 2008, 15.9 percent of people with diabetes reported themselves as smokers.


Diabetes drastically increases a person’s chances of heart attack or stroke. More than 25 percent of adults with diabetes in North Carolina had a history of cardiac issues or strokes. High blood pressure and cholesterol and kidney failure are also major health complications due to diabetes.

Learn how to manage your diabetes

Here at Johnston Health, we have a American Diabetes Association-recognized health center to help you learn how to live a healthier life with diabetes. Anyone diagnosed can participate. At the Johnston Diabetes Center, we’ll assess your individual needs and develop a custom care plan. You’ll also learn how to self-manage your medication, and a nutritionist is available to help you develop a healthy diet.


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