EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) — November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Local hospitals in the valley are educating the community about the disease and how to prevent getting a diagnosis.
“I guess it is not a bad idea to have a month that is dedicated to a certain disease and for diabetes here in the valley it is very appropriate,” said Dr. Marcel Twahirwa, Medical Director of the DHR Health Diabetes & Endocrinology Institute.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of diabetic cases in the United States has increased by more than 34 million people. Dr. Twahirwa said the Rio Grande Valley is no stranger to high diabetic numbers.
“If you are at risk of becoming diabetic you may even be diabetic and not even know it,” Dr. Twahirwa said. “So the best thing to do is to have your blood glucose checked and be active and eat properly.”
The DHR Health Diabetes & Endocrinology Institute in Edinburg regularly sees many patients. However, there are many factors as to why there are so many diabetics in the valley.
“It could be genetic, and it can also be lifestyle, it could be the food we eat, it could be what we do and don’t do,” said Dr. Twahirwa. ” I think it is a combination of both if we can change anything is to change for example our lifestyle, we need to be more active.”
Symptoms of diabetes include weight loss, blurred vision, frequent urination, slow healing, excessive fatigue, and increased thirst. One major complication of diabetes is heart failure, but health experts said that is difficult to catch at first.
While DHR Health and other valley hospitals are helping the community find risk factors, health care workers hope valley residents can make a change to prevent the diabetes rate from increasing even more.
“I hope we’re not to be the top ten obese cities in the countries right now,” said Dr. Twahirwa. ” We are the number 2 or the number one for the past decade that needs to change if we are going to change the prevalence of diabetes in the area.”
For more information of people at risk or anyone experiencing symptoms, visit the DHR Health Diabetes & Endocrinology Institute website.