MONROE, La. (KNOE) – November is Diabetes Awareness Month.
Photo courtesy: MGN
Health experts say this is a major issue in Louisiana. The American Diabetes Association says more than half a million people in Louisiana are living with diabetes. That's one of the highest rates in the country.
Jen Avis, Certified Diabetes Educator; RD at St. Francis Medical Center, says people can show signs of prediabetes, which is a rise in blood sugar levels, but not enough to diagnose diabetes yet. She can be reversed with a healthy lifestyle. Avis says the problem is that 9 out of 10 people don't know they're prediabetic.
Avis says it's important to have your blood sugar level checked at your annual wellness appointment. She says watching your weight, cutting out as much sugar from your diet as possible, and exercising can help, but there are many people in Louisiana struggle with.
"Diabetes in the state of Louisiana is an epidemic. It's epidemic across the nation," Avis says. "We have a high obesity rate and we drink sweet tea, we drink regular chocolate and drinks, and we're high on juices. too. "
The American Diabetes Association says diabetes states about $ 5.4 billion a year because of the different conditions it can bring, such as heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke.
Luckily, Avis says it's something that can be managed.
"There's no reason for someone not to manage their diabetes. With all the great medications that we have and everything we know about nutrition, you should be able to manage it. ill effects of diabetes, "she warns.
Avis says the healthy lifestyle can be as simple as drinking and the parking lot away from the grocery store to take some extra steps.