Diabetes Rates Increasing Drastically

Posted at: 03/26/2013 7:57 PM
By: Katie Eldred

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- New numbers out by the Minnesota Department of Health show that the number of people with diabetes has more than doubled in the last 20 years.

Health experts believe there are several reasons why these numbers are rising.

"It certainly has a profound effect on our society in general, you talk to anyone and they have a relative or someone with it," said Mayo Clinic Dr. Steve Smith.

Dr. Smith says the rise in diabetes specifically type two is partly due to our life styles.

"Fast food, sodas, and of course we do less walking," said Dr. Smith.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health nearly 300,000 Minnesotans have been told they have diabetes while 80,000 don't even know they have it.

"Most people that have diabetes are walking around with it and have no clue," said Olmsted Medical Center diabetes educator Rynn Geier.

Geier says the most concerning part is that those who don't know they have it are also at risk for other health issues.

"People who have diabetes are more likely to die from a stroke or to have a heart attack,” said Geier.

Another concerning issue with the rise of diabetes is the cost.

"It is a chronic issue which means there are day to day things you need to do such as having your blood taken," said Geier.

Smith says the rise in cases also comes with serious consequences for society.

"Health issues, but economic issues as well if we don't come up with some strategy for it were going to be in hot water," said Dr. Smith.

Mayo started a partnership with the University of Minnesota more than 2 years ago that's goal is find the cure for diabetes in ten years. Dr. Smith says part of that effort in the case of type two diabetes is to prevent it. Prevention includes exercising, eating right, and simply knowing the risk factors.

The American Diabetes Association has a simple test you can do online to see if you’re at risk. Some of the factors include of course your weight, your age, and if a family member has diabetes.

We've posted a link, here.