According to surveys conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the incidences of type 2 diabetes are up 90 percent. Even more frightening, it's estimated that about 1/3 of those with the disease don't even know they have it. The CDC has released state and regional data on diabetes and is also helping health officials target at-risk populations in need of diabetes education.

Southern states have the highest diabetes rate, and of the top 10 states with the highest diabetes rates, only Arizona is not in the South. The other nine are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia. West Virginia has the highest annual diabetes rate, with 12.7 new cases per 1,000 residents. In Minnesota, the state with the lowest annual diabetes rate, there has been a 67 percent increase over the last decade. Even in the perceived health-conscious California, over 200,000 people have been told they have diabetes. 

So why has there been such a tremendous increase in diabetes? Obesity, according to the CDC, is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, and almost a third of Americans are considered obese. Fortunately, simple steps and changes can begin to reverse this frightening diabetes trend.

Reverse or Prevent Diabetes: Steps to Take

  • Lose 5 to 10 percent of your body weight. Multiply your body weight by .05 and .10 to determine the amount of weight you should lose, and then set goals for yourself.
  • Get active. Five days a week, get 30 minutes of moderate physical activity. Start small, and work your way up with some physical activity that you will enjoy. Get family and friends involved to make it more fun. 
  • Clean out the cupboards.  High fat and high sugar foods could be contributing to your weight and diabetes. At the very least, they are making blood sugar levels tough to control, and with uncontrolled blood sugar comes diabetes-related complications.
  • Get educated. Call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383), and ask for information on diabetes educators in your area.

How Do I Know?

As mentioned, the 90 percent increase doesn't account for the people who have diabetes but don't know it. Below is a list of symptoms that should be taken seriously. Contact your physician if you have any of these symptoms. 

Symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes include:

  • Slow-healing sores or cuts
  • Itching of the skin (usually around the vaginal or groin area)
  • Frequent yeast infections
  • Recent weight gain
  • Velvety dark skin changes of the neck, armpit, and groin
  • Numbness and tingling of the hands and feet
  • Decreased vision
  • Impotence
  • Constant thirst 
  • Frequent urination 
  • Fatigue 
  • Blurred vision 

Help reverse the trend and take the steps to combat this disease. Simple steps can make a difference in this growing health concern. A 90 percent increase in the last 10 years means that you most likely have a family, friend, or coworker who is suffering from this disease. So reach out, get educated, and get active in order to fight diabetes.