More than 1 million North Carolinians have been diagnosed with diabetes and an additional 244,000 people in the state have the disease but don’t know they have it, greatly increasing their health risk. Another nearly 3 million North Carolinians - that’s 35% of the state’s adult population - have prediabetes.
Common diabetes health complications include heart disease, chronic kidney disease, nerve damage and other problems with feet, oral health, vision, hearing and mental health. That’s why organizations like the North Carolina Diabetes Research Center (NCDRC) are so critical. The NCDRC is the only center of its type in the state and is led by Dr. Donald McClain, director of Wake Forest University School of Medicine’s Center on Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.
The NCDRC coordinates diabetes research efforts across four premiere research institutions in the state: Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Duke University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina A&T State University. The NCDRC is just one of three Diabetes Research Centers (DRCs) in the Southeast and one of only 18 DRCs in the United States. It currently collects more than $70 million a year for support of its diabetes research. It was formed to create an interactive regional scientific network to support innovative diabetes research by connecting investigators to each other and providing access to powerful research technologies.
“The Center takes advantage of our complementary strengths and helps investigators, particularly early career ones, tackle the entire realm of issues related to diabetes, from molecular mechanisms to human physiology to population and health equity concerns,” said McClain.
Know Your Risk
Individuals can prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes with proven lifestyle changes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the below are key risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes:
- Prediabetes: blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes.
- Obesity: leading risk for developing diabetes.
- Forty-five years or older: children and teens can develop Type 2 diabetes, but the risk increases as a person gets older.
- Family history: have a parent, brother or sister with Type 2 diabetes.
- Sedentary lifestyle: are physically active less than three times a week.
- Gestational diabetes: diabetes that develops during pregnancy or if a mother has given birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds.
- Ethnicity: African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native person and some Pacific Islanders and Asian American individuals are at higher risk.
If you have a family history or other risks for diabetes, schedule an appointment with your primary care provider today to improve your overall health and get back to living fully. Visit our experts across the Piedmont Triad in North Carolina.