Diabetes cases on the rise in Oklahoma

Deanna EvansJournal-Capital
Courtesy of the American Diabetes Association

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a three-part series on diabetes in Osage County. This series will show the impact of the disease in Osage County (today’s edition), discuss the resources available (Jan. 13) and provide information on how to manage the disease (Jan. 20).

The numbers are staggering. From the percentage of the population which has been diagnosed with diabetes, to the morbidity rate, to the cost of medical care and lost productivity, diabetes touches everyone.

One in three Americans will develop diabetes in their lifetime, according to a statements made during the “Diabetes State of Our State” report released during the Oklahoma World Diabetes Day event held Nov. 12 at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

“Oklahomans are losing their vision, losing limbs and dying from diabetes in shockingly high numbers, but, in many cases, the disease can be controlled and even prevented with proper diet and exercise,” said state Sen. Susan Paddack, D-Ada. “It is an epidemic, but it is within our power to do something about it.”

One in three Oklahomans already has diabetes or pre-diabetes, the report said, and the state is ranked third in the nation for the highest death rate from diabetes.

People young and old, thin and obese, affluent and disadvantaged, educated and non-educated — diabetes impacts people in all walks of life.

“Diabetes affects so many people. It touches everybody. I’ve read a statistic that said by the year 2050, 1-in-3 people will have diabetes,” said Shannon Bailey, MS, RD/LD, CDE, Diabetes and Nutrition Education manager at Jane Phillips Medical Center in Bartlesville. “We’re almost there now. It’s not stopping.”

The prevalence of diabetes is on the rise in Oklahoma. According to the 2014 vital statistics report with the Oklahoma State Department of Health, from 2005-2010, slightly more than 10 percent of Oklahoma adults were diagnosed with diabetes by a healthcare professional. In 2011, the number rose to approximately 11 percent — or 313,800 adult Oklahomans.

During that same time period, Osage County reportedly had 11.2 percent of its population diagnosed. (See Oklahoma map). These numbers do not include the people with pre-diabetes. In comparing this county with neighboring Washington County, the age adjusted diabetes death rate is higher in Osage County. Per 100,000 persons, Washington County is 19, while Osage County is 25.8. The national average is 24.7.

Non-Hispanic American Indians and multiracial adults reported significantly higher prevalence of diabetes than non-Hispanic whites. The rates of diagnosed diabetes by race/ethnic background are: 15.9 percent of American Indians/Alaskan Natives, 13.2 percent of non-Hispanic blacks, 12.8 percent of Hispanics, 9 percent of Asian Americans and 7.6 percent of non-Hispanic whites.

In 2011, there were 6,907 hospital admissions with diabetes in the state with charges totaling $185 million, the American Diabetes Association reported.

Data from the National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014, released June 10, 2014, said diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States in the year 2010, based on the 69,071 death certificates in which diabetes was listed as the underlying cause of death. In 2010, diabetes was mentioned as a cause of death in a total of 234,051 certificates.

The report also stated that diabetes may be under-reported as a cause of death.

“Studies have found that only about 35 percent to 40 percent of people with diabetes who died had diabetes listed anywhere on the death certificate and about 10 percent to 15 percent had it listed as the underlying cause of death,” the 2014 report said.

The American Diabetes Association estimates the total cost of diagnosed diabetes to be $245 billion in the United States, which includes both direct medical costs and reduced productivity.

UP NEXT: The resources available for those who have diabetes.