Georgia’s cases of diabetes are reaching epidemic status. One might ask, “What is causing this trend?” It is partly due to the state’s relatively high number of residents in the overweight to obese range which is a huge risk factor for developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Currently, more than 1 million Georgians have diabetes, and up to 400,000 Georgians have pre-diabetes. According to the CDC, 11.6 percent of Georgia adults have diagnosed diabetes. That’s 20 percent higher than the national average! As the numbers of diabetes cases continue to climb, so does the number of diabetes-related emergency care visits.
A recent Emory University study has found that hospitalizations due to diabetes have climbed significantly in Georgia. The study showed that in every case the individuals seeking emergency care were from low-income, rural areas. Statistics show that low-income areas have less access to regular care, less insurance, and therefore less ability to buy the expensive medications and insulin needed to manage their disease.
When regular care isn’t accessible, it isn’t sought, and those with unmanaged diabetes eventually end up in emergency care.
What can be done to lower the need for diabetes-related emergency care?
The answer is better accessible health care and preventative programs. Diabetes prevention programs can encourage better nutrition and physical activity as well as health ‘’coaching,’’ said Jean O’Connor, chronic disease prevention director for the state Department of Public Health.
Regular preventative care can reduce emergency care visits, reduce the need for costly medication, and ultimately reduce cases of diabetes.
Preventative programs like functional medicine offer comprehensive testing and treatment to help patients understand why their condition is happening, what they can do to prevent or reverse it, and get back to optimal health.