SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - November is National Diabetes Month.
In Georgia, More than 1 in 10 adults have diabetes, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.
In South Carolina, one in 7 adults have the disease, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
That’s compared to 1 in 10 adults across the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Doctor Misal Patel with SouthCoast Health explained what causes the disease, as well as the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
“All of our cells in our bodies need sugar to function, and in order to take sugar up from the blood, we need insulin," Doctor Patel said. "So there’s two kinds of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Type 1 is when the body makes little or no insulin and patients have to be on insulin. Type 2 is when the bodies don’t respond well to the insulin or they don’t make it well enough or a combination of both of those things.”
Doctor Patel says many of his patients have not started experiencing experiencing symptoms when they’re first diagnosed.
But there are some symptoms you can look out for like nerve pain in your hands or feet, increased hunger or thirst, going to the bathroom more often or waking up more often during the night.
People with diabetes are at higher risk for serious health complications such as heart disease and stroke, and Doctor Patel says he wishes people would take the diagnosis more seriously.
“I educate them about the diagnosis and the complications and longterm effects of it, but one of the most common responses I hear is 'Doctor I feel fine. This goes back to what I was saying about patients having no symptoms at the beginning, but unfortunately, you know, they can be asymptomatic but patients tend to not want to take medicines if they feel fine, and over time, you know, the diabetes can progress and become worse. And then you know patients end up having to have a lot more medications or their risk factors for heart disease is much increased, and it could’ve been if we could have prevented the progression of it too.”
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you can manage it with a combination of eating healthy, staying active and working with your doctor.