Being in the "top 10" is usually a sense of achievement for most groups whether it's sports, academics or business. But ranking in the top 10 nationally for the incidence of diabetes, is not! Kentucky ranks 9th in the nation for diagnosed diabetes, meaning that over 300,000 Kentuckians are affected by the disease. But that's not all- an additional 127,000 KY adults may have undiagnosed diabetes. What does that mean? One in seven Kentucky adults has diabetes- a disease that is not only costly to the individual but for all.

November is American Diabetes Month®, a time to communicate the seriousness of diabetes and the importance of proper diabetes control. A recent survey by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed while millions of Americans are at risk for developing diabetes, too few perceive the threat it can pose to their health. Forty-nine percent of the more than 2,400 U.S. adults polled said they most feared cancer as a potential health problem, but only 3% said they worried about diabetes. However, each disease has about the same number of expected new cases each year, more than a million annually.  

This month on "It's about You", Deborah Fillman, RD, CDE, Green River District Health Director and president-elect of the American Assoc of Diabetes Educators and Tamera Thomas, FCS agent for Franklin Co and caregiver provide insight on diabetes from a public health and family perspective. Diabetes is a serious, costly but controllable disease. Controlling diabetes is a family affair and can create tension among family members if all are not aware of the seriousness of the disease. It is important to remember that once an individual has been diagnosed with diabetes, the disease never goes away, but can be managed. Diabetes cannot be cured, but it can be controlled!

Know the signs and symptoms and learn the ABC's of Prevention.

Remember the ABCs

  • A is for A1C. The A1C test-short for hemoglobin A1C-measures average blood glucose (sugar) over the past 3 months. How often: At least twice a year
  • B is for blood pressure. High blood pressure makes the heart work too hard and can cause damage to the kidneys and eyes. How often: At every visit
  • C is for cholesterol. Bad cholesterol, or LDL, builds up and clogs arteries, leading to heart attacks and strokes. How often: At least once a year

Diabetes is serious....and usually doesn't exist by itself. Know the complications associate with the disease. Diabetes Complications include:

Heart disease and stroke

  • Heart disease and stroke account for about 65% of deaths in people with diabetes.
  • The risk for stroke and death from heart disease is 2 to 4 times higher among people with diabetes.

Kidney disease

  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, accounting for 44% of new cases in 2002.
  • In 2002, 44,400 people with diabetes began treatment for end-stage renal disease.


  • More than 60% of nontraumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes.
  • In 2004, about 71,000 nontraumatic lower-limb amputations were performed in people with diabetes.


  • Diabetic retinopathy causes 12,000 to 24,000 new cases of blindness each year making diabetes the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults 20-74 years of age.

Key Messages
Know the signs and symptoms of the disease
Move more and eat less
Prevention is the most cost effective measure...and saves lives.