The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) released statistics indicating Latino and African American adults have higher rates of diabetes (13.7% and 10.7%, respectively) than whites and Asians (8.2%). The trend confirms that diabetes continues to grow and is a significant chronic health disease.
“Diabetes is a costly and serious disease, often with severe health consequences,” said Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, MD, MPH, Interim Health Officer for Los Angeles County. “Diabetes increases risks of heart disease and stroke and can also lead to kidney disease and blindness. Fortunately, these grim complications can be prevented with medical treatment. On a hopeful note, the most common form of diabetes, type 2 diabetes, can be prevented by being more active, eating healthier, and losing weight.”
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors proclaim November as Diabetes Awareness Month.
“Diabetes is impacting thousands of residents all across Los Angeles County, particularly in our most underserved, ethnic, and Latino communities. In fact, it is one of the leading health problems in my district,” said Chair of the Board of Supervisors Hilda L. Solis. “We need to continue our fight to raise awareness about the consequences of this terrible disease, encourage proper treatment, and promote preventative practices. It is imperative that we improve access for our residents to healthy food options, gyms and parks to encourage healthy and active life-styles for all.”
According to the 2015 Los Angeles County Health Survey, an estimated 758,000 LA County adults (9.8%) have been diagnosed with diabetes. Among those with diabetes, an estimated 573,000 (76%) have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, 69,000 people (9%) have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and 114,000 (15%) do not know which type of diabetes they were diagnosed with by a medical professional. Adults with less than a high school education have a higher rate (14.9%) than those with a high school degree (9.3%), some college (8.5%), or a college degree (7.2%).
In LA County, more than 2 out of 5 adults have prediabetes or undiagnosed diabetes. Prediabetes means a person’s blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes.
The total direct cost of treating diabetes is estimated to be as much as $6 billion per year in LA County. To address the growing rates of prediabetes, the LA Diabetes Coalition unites key stakeholders representing health plans, health systems, healthcare practitioners, government, community-based organizations, and universities.
“The American Medical Association (AMA) applauds the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health for shining a light on prediabetes—a serious health condition that affects nearly 86 million Americans nationwide—and its efforts to prevent California residents from developing type 2 diabetes,” said AMA President Andrew W. Gurman, M.D. “The AMA has been working for several years to raise awareness of prediabetes and significantly increase the number of physicians and health care providers screening and testing patients for prediabetes. The AMA is currently working on the state level to develop models that can be used to support states, including California, as they adopt a similar process—helping even more Americans stave off or delay type 2 diabetes to improve health outcomes.”
Public Health is actively engaged with the National Diabetes Prevention Program to model and implement community and clinical-based interventions to make it easier for people to learn their diabetes status and get connected to programs and treatments to help them prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. To learn more, visit http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention/index.html. To learn about preventing diabetes and learning if you or a loved one has prediabetes, visit https://doihaveprediabetes.org/.
About Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Public Health comprises nearly 4,000 employees and has an annual budget exceeding $900 million. To learn more about the Department of Public Health and the work we do, please visit PublicHealth.LACounty.gov, and follow Public Health on social media at twitter.com/LAPublicHealth, facebook.com/LAPublicHealth, and youtube.com/LAPublicHealth.