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Diabetes rates soars in Oklahoma

Most states see increase in Diabetes rates

According to a report published by theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention, published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, diabetes rates have increased more than 50 percent or more in 42 states. What’s even more astonishing is that eighteen states have seen an increase of 100 percent between 1995 and 2010.

Oklahoma leads the pack with a 226 percent increase, closely followed by Kentucky at 158 percent, Georgia at 145 percent and Alabama at 140 percent. Mississippi has the highest percentage of respondents with diabetes with an estimated 12 percent of the population suffering from this condition, compared with a national average of 7 percent.

Information for the study was gathered by the lead author Linda Geiss, a statistician with CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation. She noted that her and her colleagues “used data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an annual telephone survey of health behaviors and conditions of U.S. adults.” And found that the South had the highest level of telephone respondents with diabetes. The researchers telephoned more than 1,000 adults in each state in 1995 and 2010.

Geiss noted that these increases are likely to continue until individuals and the medical community can take the necessary steps to prevent obesity and diabetes. She recommended a two-tier approach of new policies and effective early interventions. The most effective method of preventing Type 2 diabetes is through lifestyle changes including healthier eating and more exercise. Type 2 diabetes accounts for up to 95 percent of all diabetes cases in America.

Diabetes rates have exploded in the last 50 years. Factored into the increase is the fact that more patients are living longer with their condition due to better treatment but also individuals have grown accustomed to processed food combined with a sedentary lifestyle.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder which affects the process of the digestion and breakdown of the food we eat into glucose or sugar for fuel. A separate process occurs in the pancreas which produces insulin. After you eat the pancreas is responsible for releasing insulin to move the glucose (from the digestion of food) into the cells, which lowers the level of blood sugar. Claimants with diabetes have high blood sugar because they either have insufficient insulin production or their body is not responding properly to the production of insulin.

Diabetic individuals can suffer from a variety of other conditions or complications including heart and kidney issues and nerve damage. Currently, diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

Diabetes and I cannot work. What are my options?

First, getting proper medical care and taking the right steps to control your condition is the first thing to do. Many claimants who are pre-diabetic may be able to make sufficient lifestyle changes to avoid taking medications and lose weight.

Years ago the Social Security Administration used to consider obesity a disabling health condition. As more and more Americans became obese the SSA made changes to their Listing of Impairments. Now, the SSA does not assume just because you are obese you can no longer work because millions of obese Americans are working.

Diabetes is on a similar path. What may have been automatically disabling in the past may not be in the future as more and more Americans prove that having diabetes does not mean you do not have the capacity to work. You can get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for diabetes but you will have to prove your condition is very severe.