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By 2050, 1 in 3 people will have Type 2 diabetes. But quality of life and mortality risks aren’t the only things at stake with this rising epidemic.

“The U.S. health care system will be unable to afford the costs of care unless incidence rates and diabetes-related complications are reduced. So, what is to be done and where does Utah rank in all of this? The answers to these questions may surprise you.

The diabetes epidemic in Utah is on the rise

In Uta, 10.4 percent of the adult population has diabetes and an additional 619,000 show symptoms of prediabetes.

Reading between the lines, these numbers reveal thousands suffering in Utah and thousands — billions — being spent in conjunction with diabetes. Diabetes and prediabetes cost an estimated $1.7 billion in Utah each year.

Numbers like these can’t be discounted.

The seriousness of diabetes

Too many underestimate how diabetes can adversely affect them and the lives of those around them. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in Utah, according to data from the Utah Department of Health.

When diabetes is not treated appropriately, it can cause blindness, amputation, cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke and kidney failure.

The incidence of heart attack and stroke is increased by two to four times in those with diabetes. “In Utah, there are about 4,500 hospital discharges for cardiovascular complications related to diabetes every year,” says the Utah Department of Health.

How to diagnose and prevent diabetes

While 1 in 3 American adults do have prediabetes, the good news is, this condition can be reversed by maintaining a healthy weight, committing to regular exercise, and striving for a healthy diet.

Find out early if you have diabetes and get the treatment you need. Serious diabetes-related complications can be avoided by identifying symptoms and following up with your doctor on your concerns.

Common symptoms of diabetes, provided by the Utah Development of Health, include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme hunger
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
  • Feeling very tired much of the time
  • Very dry skin
  • Sores that are slow to heal
  • More infections than usual

Are you at risk for diabetes?

Risk factors for diabetes include advancing age, obesity and a family history of the disease.

If you are experiencing symptoms of diabetes, your doctor can confirm whether or not you have the condition with one of three different tests: 1. the A1C test; 2. the FPG (fasting plasma glucose) test; or 3. the OGTT (oral glucose tolerance test).

Local programs that support diabetes awareness and prevention

Utahns can take advantage of local programs dedicated to those diagnosed with diabetes and prediabetes. The Utah Department of Health is enlisting the power of Diabetes Self Management Education to combat the disease.

The value of DSME is incalculable. DSME:

  • Reduces the onset and/or advancement of diabetes complications
  • Improves the quality of life and lifestyle behaviors
  • Promotes a healthier eating pattern
  • Stimulates regular physical activity for self-efficacy and empowerment
  • Increases healthy coping
  • Decreases the presence of diabetes-related distress and depression
Those diagnosed with diabetes, or those looking to prevent prediabetes from advancing, can benefit from Utah’s local DSME providers. Enlisting professional help can keep your diabetes under control.

Controlling diabetes enables happier living

While there is currently no cure for diabetes, a diabetes diagnosis doesn’t mean you can’t be healthy and enjoy life. Diabetes can be controlled by improving self-management skills, committing to lifestyle changes, and participating in ongoing diabetes education with public programs like Utah’s Environment, Policy & Improved Clinical Care Program. Decide now to educate your mind so you can cultivate healthy, diabetes-free living for years to come.