Diabetes in Hawaii

December 27, 2010, 10:48 AM HST · Updated December 27, 10:48 AM
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Diabetes is a common problem among adults throughout the United States and Hawaii is no exception. According to a diabetes report that came out a number of years ago, approximately 72,000 to 100,000 people in the islands currently have the disease. Of that number, as many as 25,000 may go without a diabetes diagnosis each year. This is troublesome because undetected diabetes can result in a host of health complications.

According to recent statistics, Native Hawaiians, Filipinos and Japanese have a higher incidence of diabetes than whites. Native Hawaiians also have a higher mortality rate from diabetes, while whites have the lowest mortality rating. The prevalence of diabetes is consistent throughout the islands, with no Hawaiian county showing more incidence of diabetes than any other.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic condition that is characterized by abnormally high levels of blood glucose, due to insufficient insulin production. Some people must have insulin injections for life to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, while others can maintain similar levels through medication and lifestyle changes. Many people with diabetes end up with potentially life threatening complications from the disease. The good news is that many of these complications can be prevented with proper diagnosis and management of the disease.

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Diabetes Risks

There are many factors that can raise the risk you will be diagnosed with diabetes at some point in your life, including:

  • A genetic predisposition to the disease
  • Age, with many people getting diagnosed with diabetes later in life
  • Obesity contributes to the prevalence of diabetes in later years
  • Physical inactivity and poor diet can raise the risk of diabetes
  • Smoking may increase the risk for diabetes

Some of these risk factors can be reduced by individuals, through maintaining a health weight, eating right and committing to a regular exercise program. These choices can also make those who have already been diagnosed with diabetes more adept at managing their disease.

There are a host of complications associated with diabetes, including cardiovascular disease, eye disease, kidney disease and problems in pregnancy. People with diabetes also have a higher incidence of amputations, due to nervous system damage and vascular diseases. Many of these complications can be reduced by practicing good diabetes management, and making healthy lifestyle choices throughout life.

Diabetes is a prevalent problem throughout this country, and Hawaii is not immune to the disease. With prompt diagnosis and proper management of the condition, many Hawaiians can go on to live healthy, productive lives with diabetes.

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