A recent study finds about one in three Nebraskans is overweight or obese, prompting renewed concerns about the threat of diabetes.
Dr. Griffin Rodgers, a renowned diabetes researcher, says identifying diabetes early and properly managing the disease can help prevent a host of health problems.
“In the state of Nebraska, 8% of adults have diabetes, about 8.5% male and 7.5% female,” Dr. Rodgers says. “That’s actually a little bit lower than the national average, which is about 9.2%.”
The numbers in Nebraska rise with age. The report finds 11% of Nebraskans between the ages of 45 and 64 have diabetes, while for those 65 and over, the rate climbs to 20% diabetic.
In Nebraska, 32% of adults are obese or overweight, which leads to an increased likelihood of health problems, like diabetes, which may significantly impact quality of life.
Rodgers says the biggest obstacle is, many people don’t know they have diabetes.
“About one in four people, it’s estimated, have diabetes and are totally unaware of it,” Rodgers says. “Obviously, if the disease is undiagnosed, it’s not treated and untreated diabetes can lead to serious health conditions like heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease and even death.”
Nebraskans need to pay attention to their health and make visits at least once a year to their physician for check-ups. That doctor should be able to help spot the development of diabetes before conditions worsen.
“Some of the common symptoms are being very thirsty, urinating often, having blurred vision or losing weight without trying,” Rodgers says. “Since these are sort of non-specific symptoms, you can probably guess that they’re ignored or they’re rationalized as being the result of something else.”
Rodgers is the director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, based in Bethesda, Maryland. He encourages people with diabetes to examine how managing their diabetes can fit into their life and empower them to take specific steps to improve their management with the support of a care team.
To learn more, visit www.niddk.nih.gov.