New “Diabetes Belt” includes Virginia

Virginians can expect to hear more about obesity and diabetes prevention and treatment. That’s because federal health officials have included Virginia in the nation’s so-called “diabetes belt.”

According to a new report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Virginia and 14 other states have the highest rates of diabetes nationwide.

Approximately 12 percent of residents in the “diabetes belt” had diabetes compared to 8.5 percent elsewhere in the United States, the report concludes.

The most common form of diabetes, type 2, is associated with obesity, older age, genetics and lack of exercise. Eighty percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight, according to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse.

People develop type 2 diabetes when their bodies cannot use insulin effectively, a condition called insulin resistance. Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in 2006 nationwide, according to federal health statistics.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • fatigue
  • weight loss
  • blurry vision
  • slow healing sores
  • extreme hunger
  • excessive thirst
  • frequent urination

Consult a doctor to find out more about diabetes prevention and treatment. Glucose and blood tests can diagnose the disorder.

If you have diabetes, Bon Secours health professionals can help teach you how to manage the disorder. Bon Secours offers free diabetes education classes.  To register, visit our online events calendar or call 889-CARE (2273).

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health

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