Diabetes can sometimes feel like an annoyance — especially to those who have to watch what they eat and monitor their blood sugar. But when unchecked and undiagnosed, diabetes can kill. In 2008, it was the eighth leading cause of death among North Carolinians and the fourth leading cause of death among African Americans. It’s the mission of the Johnston Diabetes Center to educate patients and help them manage this disease.
On Nov. 8, a month-long series of worldwide activities was started to raise awareness of the disease. The World Health Organization designated Monday, Nov. 14, as “World Diabetes Day.” WHO chose that day because it marks the birth of Frederick Banting, who helped discover insulin in 1922. Insulin is the hormone that controls diabetes by regulating the body’s carbohydrate and fat metabolism.
Facts about Diabetes Worldwide
Here are some statistics from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and WHO:
- 366 million people worldwide have diabetes. (It’s estimated that the number will double by the year 2030.)
- Nearly 80 percent of diabetes deaths occur in countries where incomes are relatively low.
- Someone dies from diabetes every 7 seconds; there are nearly 4.6 million deaths every year.
- In the U.S., annual spending on diabetes and diabetes-related issues has surpassed $450 billion.
- Diabetes is among the top 10 causes of disability. Complications include blindness and lower limb amputations.
Facts about Diabetes in North Carolina
Instances of diabetes are increasing at an alarming rate in the Tar Heel State. A few disturbing facts from the N.C. Diabetes Prevention and Control Program and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services are as follows:
- The percentage of North Carolina residents with diabetes more than doubled from 4.5 percent in 1995 to 9.6 percent in 2009.
- There are 1.2 million people in N.C. with either diagnosed diabetes (674,000), undiagnosed diabetes (147,000), prediabetes (451,000), or gestational diabetes (13,000).
- Minorities suffer most. The incidence rates are 15.6 percent among African Americans and 11.7 percent among Native Americans.
- People are three times more likely to develop diabetes if they live in a household with less than $15,000 in income.
- Between 2004 and ’08, the death rate among African Americans was more than double that of whites: 163.8 deaths per 100,000 for African Americans compared with 80.2 per 100,000 for whites.
- Eastern North Carolina residents have the highest diabetes rate in the state, at 12.7 percent.
- Johnston County’s diabetes prevalence rate is 8.1 percent, while counties around Johnston range from 5.2 percent (Wake) to 13 percent (Wayne).
What We’re Doing at Johnston Health
Diabetes education at Johnston Health has been nationally recognized by the American Diabetes Association and meets the National Standards for Diabetes Self-Management Education. In 2008, we received an Abbot Diabetes Care Provider of the Year Award in recognition of outstanding care and commitment to those living with diabetes.
At the Johnston Diabetes Center, we work with patients to lead a productive, healthful lifestyle while controlling the disease. You may ask your doctor for a referral to our diabetes education program, where we assess your needs, set personal goals, discuss nutritional health and provide advice on medications. Our educators are not allowed to dispense, prescribe or renew medications.
To speak with a diabetes educator, call the Johnston Health Education Department at 919-938-7736. The office is open weekdays from 9 a.m. till 5 p.m. and is located in the Johnston Medical Mall in Smithfield.