Community Medical Centers addressed the diabetes epidemic during its latest HealthQuest seminar last Thursday.
Led by Dr. Dominic Dizon of Community Regional Medical Center, the lecture gave an insight on how diabetes affects your body, and what you can do to manage or prevent it.
Dizon started the presentation with some alarming statistics. Over 15.5 million adults in California have diabetes or are prediabetic. This epidemic has grown quickly to touch nearly 55% of the state’s population. And unfortunately, the Central Valley is the epicenter of it all.
“Around the country – and here in the Central Valley over the past 20 years – diabetes has truly become an epidemic,” Dizon said as he showed a color coded map of the United States with diabetes statistics for certain regions.
Dizon allowed attendees to participate in the discussion with polls. The first question asked was: “Which county in the Central Valley has the highest prevalence of diabetes?” The answer: Fresno County.
He further explained that diabetics also have to deal with the conditions associated with the disease including, hypertension, limited mobility, limitation in instrumental activities of daily living, vision impairment or blindness and coronary heart disease.
Diabetes can also be expensive. According to Dizon’s second poll, the total annual cost per person with diabetes is $11,000-20,000. That includes doctors visits, the escalating cost of medication, transportation, medical equipment, etc.
Diabetes takes a toll financially, it’s a burden economically on our system,” Dizon said.
The disease also has a real mortality effect and can shorten life expectancy. It is estimated that a 40-year-old person with diabetes will live an average of eight years less than someone without it.
The good news, Dizon explained, is that today there are advanced treatment modalities and strategies to treat diabetes. Some of the latest advancements include digital contact lenses and tattoos that are used as monitoring systems. As diabetic research continues to move forward, more monitoring and treatment options will become available for patients.
The next HealthQuest community forum is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 2 at 6 p.m.