November is National Diabetes Month, a time when communities across the country team up to bring attention to diabetes. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) is partnering with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). This year’s focus is on the link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Adults with diabetes are nearly twice as likely to die from heart disease or stroke as people without diabetes. This is because over time, high blood glucose from diabetes can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart.
In Saline County, as reported in the 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment conducted by Fitzgibbon Hospital, the obesity rate is 37%; and a full 31% of residents indicate they get little to no physical activity, a rate that is 4% higher than the state average. Currently, more than 1,800 Saline County residents are living with diabetes. Many more are facing substantial health challenges in the future, because they have not been to a physician to be diagnosed and are living with uncontrolled diabetes. The number of individuals living with diabetes is 1.5% higher in Saline County than the State of Missouri at-large.
While many under Medicare age are affected by diabetes, Medicare beneficiaries represent more than half of those diagnosed. Currently, more than 1,100 individuals on Medicare in Saline County have been diagnosed with diabetes.
It is very interesting to note the similarity in Saline County with individuals who also have heart disease. According to the most recent data, approximately 27%, or 996, of Saline County Medicare beneficiaries have been diagnosed with heart disease.
Another startling statistic shows that 34.4% of Saline County adults have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, more than 6% above the national average. The connection can easily be made between the rates of obesity, activity, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure in our community.
According to the NIDDK, the good news is that the steps you take to manage your diabetes can also help lower your chances of having heart disease or a stroke:
Screening for diabetes should be part of your routine lab tests, conducted by your doctor during a wellness visit. If you have not had a wellness visit, routine, preventative care is provided at no cost as mandated by the Affordable Care Act. If you do not have a primary care physician, Marshall Family Practice is taking new patients. Call (660)886-7800 for an appointment.