American Diabetes Month

According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 25 million Americans have diabetes.

The ADA Fact Sheet also showed one point nine million new cases were diagnosed in people over the age of 20 back in 2010. Seven million people are said to be undiagnosed and 79 million are prediabetes.

According to Texas Tech Regional Chair of Internal Medicine Dr. Roger Smalligan, the increasing obesity trend in today's society has greatly contributed to the rising diabetes numbers.

"Thirty years ago, the rates were five to ten percent of us were meeting the technical criteria for obesity," Dr. Smalligan said. " Now, I think it's over 30 percent. Close to 30 percent of us are technically in the obese category."

Type 2 diabetes causes the body to produce more insulin as a result of compensating for glucose lows. The body gets so much insulin that it becomes resistant to it.

Type 1 diabetes forms antibodies which attack the pancreas. This type of diabetes is typically genetic.

A healthy diet, healthy weight and plenty of exercise is what Dr. Smalligan recommends for fighting diabetes. He said he has had patients in the past who cleared themselves of diabetes by dedicating themselves to these ideals.

"Exercise reduces the insulin resistance in every cell in your body so that you can utilize that insulin that's out there better. Exercise also helps you lose weight, which also helps with blood sugar control. The diet is key, Diet is really, really important."

Dr. Smalligan also pointed out not treating diabetes appropriately or letting it roam through the body freely can have serious consequences.

"You are affecting many parts of the body," he said. "You are increasing the risk of heart attacks, strokes, people can go blind from what we call retinopathy. You can can have kidney failure. There are so many bad effects of just living with uncontrolled diabetes."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than eight percent of the people in both Potter and Randall counties have diabetes.