Lexington doctor discusses diabetes concerns in Kentucky

Published: Nov. 26, 2020 at 2:36 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - November is diabetes awareness month, and on a day when a lot of us will eat a lot of sugary foods in excess, we wanted to inform you about this disease that has Kentuckians ranked fourth in the nation in deaths due to diabetes complications.

“We have to be vigilant with diabetes, especially with the amount of diabetes that we have in the state and around this country.” Emergency room physician Dr. Ryan Stanton says Thanksgiving meals can be a big risk for those with diabetes and hypertension because of the likelihood of getting an abundance of foods that are high in sugar and salt.

“Many people have that feeling, I can cheat a little bit this year and it’ll be fine, unfortunately with diabetes it’s one of the silent killers of long-term damage,” Dr. Stanton said.

That’s damage to the kidney, heart and eyes. The CDC says having type 2 diabetes and contracting COVID-19 can cause severe illness.

“The risk of the complications and the death in the minority populations are higher but really among everybody this is a big problem, a growing problem,” Dr. Stanton said.

According to the Kentucky diabetes report published in 2019, the prevalence of diabetes among Kentucky adults has gone from the 240,000 people in the year 2,000, to almost half a million people in 2017. One in three Kentuckians are diagnosed with pre-diabetes.

Dr. Stanton says eating a large meal on Thanksgiving itself won’t trigger diabetes, but it’s a lifestyle. He says eating lots of sugary foods during Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays in between doesn’t help.

“It is a steady progressive process,” Dr. Stanton said.

The CDC says you can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes with simple lifestyle changes such as losing weight, eating healthier foods and getting more exercise.

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