“Diabetes is a tremendous public health concern that is both horrific for the individual, if unmanaged, and costly in terms of medications, various complications and long-term hospitalizations that are so often associated with the disease,” Audrey Haynes, secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, said in a press release.
In 2009, Kentucky’s rate for diagnosed diabetes was the fourth highest in the nation at 11.4 percent of the population, compared to a national median of 8.3 percent. The rate means an estimated 366,000 adults in Kentucky have diabetes. An additional 266,000 Kentuckians are estimated to have prediabetes, according to the CFHS website.
Prediabetes often leads to Type 2 diabetes, the most common type, within a few years, but lifestyle changes promoted by the federal Diabetes Prevention Program can decrease the risk of developing diabetes by almost 60 percent, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Preventive Medicine.
“We must act now to begin reversing the devastating impact of diabetes on our state,” Haynes said. “We are excited to continue our work with the Diabetes Prevention Program to help more Kentuckians start making healthier lifestyle choices so they can avoid developing diabetes and lead longer, healthier lives.”
The DPP specifically targets individuals with prediabetes and works with them to reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The risk factors for both are: being older than 45, being overweight or obese, physical inactivity, having a family history of diabetes, ever having gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, having a history of cardiovascular disease and being African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, Asian American or Pacific Islander. Click here to take the diabetes risk test.
The federal Centers for Disease Control estimates that national efforts to prevent Type 2 diabetes could save $5.7 billion in health care costs by preventing 885,000 cases in the next 25 years.
Kentucky will focus on three diabetes prevention strategies that involve raising awareness among health care providers to improve detection and treatment of prediabetes and encouraging both state/local government and business to add lifestyle change programs to the list of covered services under health plans, says the news release. (Read more about diabetes and prevention in Kentucky).