Diabetes is the fastest growing disease in the Rio Grande Valley.
Kidney failure, liver disease and blindness are just some of the health problems linked to diabetes. According to results of a San Antonio Heart Study, the death rate for diabetes is 50 percent higher for Hispanics in comparison to Anglo patients.
“We need to get people in who are currently at risk to get them diagnosed and under some kind of management,” says Dr. Robert McCormick of UTB’s Public School of Health.
Thirty percent of adults in the Rio Grande Valley suffer from diabetes. That is three time the rate of the national average.
“The CDC has said by 2050 one third of Americans adults will have diabetes,” says McCormick. “This is 2011 and essentially one-third of adults already have diabetes in the Valley.”
Dr. McCormick says people need to change their eating and exercise habits to help decrease these statistics.
“Twenty percent more of the Rio Grande Valley adult population has pre diabetes,” says McCormick.
“You can add up the numbers and we are starting to look like half of our population will have diabetes.”
McCormick says diabetes isn’t just potentially life threatening but economically threatening as well.
According to McCormick, “The cost of lost productivity in the labor market every year to diabetes is $227 million a year in the Rio Grande Valley.”