Kentucky is facing a diabetes epidemic. It is estimated that more than 600,000 Kentuckians have diabetes, and 1.1 million people have pre-diabetes.
Action steps are needed to screen for, diagnose and treat pre-diabetes, a serious condition in which the blood glucose (sugar) is higher than normal but not high enough to diagnose as Type 2.
Pre-diabetes often goes undiagnosed since there are no symptoms. About 1 in 3 adult Kentuckians are believed to have pre-diabetes, but only 1 in 10 know it. A third of those with pre-diabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes within five years unless they, and their health care team, address this issue.
The National Diabetes Prevention Program, a lifestyle change program recognized through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been proven to cut the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by half in those who have pre-diabetes.
Studies show that losing just 5 to 7 percent of body weight, by eating healthier and increasing physical activity, can help prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes. (For a person who weighs 200 pounds, that’s about 10 to 15 pounds).
Fortunately, Kentucky has been expanding resources to improve access to diabetes prevention programs. To locate one, visit the Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ Kentucky Diabetes resources or the Centers for Disease Control’s diabetes prevention guidelines.
Dr. John Fowlkes
Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center
University of Kentucky