Communication Home

American Diabetes Month
November is American Diabetes Month. For more information, please visit the American Diabetes Association at or call 1-888-DIABETES (1-888-342-2382). 

By Richard Heck
November 7, 2008

Chances are good that you have been or will be affected by diabetes in some way, either personally or through someone you know.

In Appalachian Ohio, more than 11 percent of the population has diabetes, compared to the national rate of eight percent, as reported by the Ohio Department of Health. The department estimates that an additional 30,000 Appalachian Ohio residents may have diabetes but are not diagnosed.

“Within Appalachia, there are clusters of counties that are at very high risk for diabetes,” says Frank Schwartz, M.D., professor of endocrinology and director of the Appalachian Rural Health Institute’s Diabetes/Endocrine Center. The center was established in 2003 to spearhead the university’s diabetes research, clinical training, treatment and educational outreach in Southeastern Ohio.

Swartz explains that the 11 counties of Appalachian Ohio report the highest poverty rates in the state, and studies show that those with lower levels of income face a much higher risk of diabetes.

Having diabetes increases your risk for a number of serious, life-threatening complications, including: 

·        Heart disease and stroke: Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates about two to four times higher than those without diabetes. Heart disease and stroke account for about 65 percent of deaths among people with diabetes.

·        Blindness: Diabetic retinopathy causes 12,000 to 24,000 new cases of blindness each year, making diabetes the leading cause of blindness among adults 20-74 years of age.

·        Kidney Disease: Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, accounting for 44 percent of new cases in 2005.

·        Amputations: In 2004, about 71,000 non-traumatic, lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes.  

Through yearly health check ups, which test for diabetes, high blood pressure and other health problems, a health care professional can assess your diabetes risk, or help you prevent or manage the disease.

OU-COM’s Area Health Education Center Community Health Programs screened 1,317 people in Southeast Ohio during 2007 and 2008 for diabetes and other illnesses as part of the Health Adult Program. 

  Office of Communication
Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
210 Irvine Hall, Athens, Ohio 45701
Tel: 740-593-2346 FAX: 740-593-0343
Copyright Ohio University (Home)
Last updated: 01/28/2016