Big Sandy Diabetes Coalition in E. Ky. helps counties take charge of this disease that affects 15.2 percent of the area’s population

The Big Sandy Diabetes Coalition in Eastern Kentucky works to help the communities it serves take responsibility for ensuring quality systems of diabetes prevention and care are accessible and utilized by its citizens, according to an article in the Appalachian Translational Research Network‘s fall newsletter.

“We believe that if there is a problem in the community, the solution is also in the community,” says the article.

This coalition serves the Big Sandy Area Development District, which includes Magoffin, Johnson, Floyd, Martin and Pike counties. Its goal is to decrease the incidence, morbidity and mortality of diabetes in these counties.

Toward these goals, the coalition held health fairs throughout the fall that offered diabetes screening and outreach programs. The fairs were a community effort, involving local hospitals, health departments, universities, colleges and Medicaid managed-care organizations.

Diabetes is more prevalent in Eastern Kentucky than in any other area of the state. It is the leading cause of amputations, blindness and kidney failure, which often leads to dialysis. It is predicted that the total cost of diabetes in Kentucky for 2015 is estimated to be $5.6 billion, according to the Kentucky Diabetes Data and Forecasts, says the article.

Graphic from the 2015 Kentucky Diabetes Report

The area served by the Big Sandy Diabetes Coalition has a rate of 15.2 percent, compared to 10.6 percent statewide. Overall, Kentucky’s Appalachian diabetes rate is 13.6 percent, according to the 2015 Kentucky Diabetes Report.

The BSDC meets bi-monthly the last Thursday of the month and is open to anyone interested in joining the group. For meeting information, please contact Brittany Martin, at 606 886-8546 ext. 1109 or

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