MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Diabetes ranks as one of the top ten killers in South Carolina. The Palmetto state is ranked fourth in the nation with the most adults suffering from diabetes, and that's an improvement. Five years ago, South Carolina was ranked second.
November 14 is celebrated as World Diabetes Day. There are efforts and events across the country and locally to bring awareness of this deadly disease. In South Carolina, diabetes is the seventh deadliest disease, behind cancer and stroke.
Some of the local Lions Clubs are heavily involved with preventing diabetes and its repercussions. If left unchecked, diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, strokes and amputations. Type 2 diabetes is on the rise in kids because of the prevalence of childhood obesity. "The sad thing is, more and more kids are developing diabetes," says George O'Neill with the North Myrtle Beach Lions Club. "Sitting at home, in front of the computer, in front of the TV, not getting out and being active. This has been a cause-effect of diabetes striking that age group."
On Friday, the North Myrtle Beach Middle School is teaching students that they do not have to suffer from diabetes. This is the fifth year the school is partnering with the North Myrtle Beach Lions Club for a Strides Walk. These events are held all over the country to promote diabetes awareness. Starting at 9:30 a.m. the students will assemble for a fun competition between local mascots. The gym teachers say this really gets the students engaged and then they're more willing to listen to the diabetic specialist who will speak about prevention and healthy lifestyles. Then the students will present a check of $315 to the MUSC Storm Eye Institute for diabetes research. They want students to take control now, to prevent suffering from type 2 diabetes later on. And one thing the gym teachers say they really hope for is that students will then take this information home and it will have a ripple effect on the community.
The American Diabetes Association predicts that by 2050, one in every three adult Americans will be affected by the disease. North Myrtle Beach Middle School hopes that in the future, other schools will joins with them in this Strides Walk to educate the community and keep this staggering statistic at bay.
It sounds simple enough, but watching your diet and exercising daily is some of the best advice when it comes to preventing the onset of diabetes. Your doctor can do a simple blood test to see if you have it. Your doctor can then teach you how to control it so you will live a productive life. The disease is costing South Carolinians hundreds of millions of dollars in medical expenses each year, because people are not monitoring the disease and adding other medical complications.