PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) —- There is one month set aside every year to raise awareness for a disease that affects over 2.4 million people just in the state of Florida.
The Health Department of Bay County is looking to raise awareness about diabetes and promote the importance of prevention methods. Education on this disease is the most important part.
“Probably 50% of people with diabetes don’t even know they have it,” said Diabetes Program Supervisor, Marsha Sumner.
Diabetes is something that should be checked annually.
“Follow up with your primary care doctor, also you have an endocrinologist or your primary care doctor is helping you manage your diabetes.The one thing about this self-care and management, it is usually the patients that manage the disease,” said Sumner.
There are some warning signs.
“We hear a lot about extreme thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, those are the classic warning signs of diabetes and don’t even know it,” said Sumner.
14% of Bay County residents have diabetes, which makes about 25,000 people in this area alone.
“If we control the rates of obesity and portion control, and your level of activity as well as some other lifestyle changes we can actually prevent or delay type 2 diabetes but we don’t yet know how to prevent type 1 diabetes,” said Sumner.
The health department believes education classes can help with catching this disease early, to avoid severe complications.
“It can lead to amputation, blindness, organ damage. A lot of times we see people may end up on dialysis or gangrene and wounds that won’t heal. The longer it goes untreated, the more serious complications and side effects are of diabetes,” said Sumner.
The Health Department of Bay County offers free blood sugar checks Monday thru Friday.