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Ohio growing in Type 2 diabetes cases, ranked among top states trying to curb the issue

Posted at 8:31 AM, Aug 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-27 09:22:48-04

CEVELAND — Health experts are dropping the recommended age for type-two diabetes screenings from 40 years old to 35 for patients who are overweight or obese.

Cases of Type 2 diabetes are drastically rising across the U.S. Right now, roughly one in 10 American adults suffer from the disease. Ohio ranks as one of the top states for the disease with more than 12% of adults reporting they have it as of 2020. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force says the sooner the diagnosis, the sooner they can start treatment. If that is done the risk of someone having other poor health conditions down the line can be lowered.

Of all the symptoms associated with diabetes, Dr. Mary Vouyiouklis at the Cleveland Clinic says the biggest risk factor is obesity.

“We found actually in Ohio. We have a very high incidence of diabetes here,” she said.

American health rankings show that cases in Ohio are higher among those who have lower income and have less than a high school degree.

“Other risk factors include sedentary lifestyle, age, and there are certain ethnic groups, in particular, the black and Hispanic population,” said Vouyiouklis.

But cases are not just rising in adults.

The National Institutes of Health just found the rate of kids ages t10 to 19 diagnosed with type two diabetes increased 95% from 2001 to 2017. Black and Hispanic children and teens suffering the most.

“Part of it can be genetics, but there's also some element of health disparity and issues with access to care, as well as the ability to have access to healthier food choices,” said Vouyiouklis.

The diagnosis sent Taya Baker of Indianapolis to the hospital just before his 16th birthday.

"I went from just an average kid that didn't have any health problems to a kid that has to take insulin shots every time they want to eat something,” he said.

Baker immediately changed his diet. He also started exercising daily and lost 118 pounds in a year. Eventually, he got off of insulin and now only having to take one pill a day.

“All of these things can have a profound impact not only on blood sugar, but also to help people with weight loss,” said Vouyiouklis.

There is no cure for Type 2 diabetes, but it doesn’t have to be deadly.

“Diabetes can definitely be very treatable. Early intervention is very important,” said Vouyiouklis.