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A Closer Look at Diabetes in Pitt County

Graph showing diabetes numbers in Pitt CountyThis year’s focus on World Health Day was all about diabetes. This disease is a global epidemic that has higher death rates in low and middle-income countries, but it is also the fifth leading cause of death in Pitt County according to the county’s 2014 Health Report. When compared to North Carolina death rates in 2013, Pitt County had lower mortality rates for eight of the ten leading causes of death in NC, which in itself is something to hang their hat on, but there were two exceptions - diabetes and vehicular injuries. Clearly, there is a gap in our county that should be addressed. 

To better understand some hard facts and statistics about diabetes, below are some figures from the World Health Organization that explain why we should all be concerned about this disease. 

Diabetes Facts and Statistics

  • There is an emerging global epidemic of diabetes that can be traced back to rapid increases in obesity and physical inactivity.
  • Total deaths from diabetes are projected to rise by more than 50% in the next 10 years. Most notably, they are projected to increase by over 80% in upper-middle income countries.
  • Type 1 diabetes is characterized by a lack of insulin production and type 2 diabetes results from the body's ineffective use of insulin. 
  • Reports of type 2 diabetes in children - previously rare - have increased worldwide. In some countries, it accounts for almost half of newly diagnosed cases in children and adolescents.
  • In 2005, 1.1 million people died from diabetes. The full impact is much larger, because although people may live for years with diabetes, their cause of death is often recorded as heart disease or kidney failure.
  • Lack of awareness about diabetes, combined with insufficient access to health services, can lead to complications such as blindness, amputation and kidney failure.

What Can You Do?

There are ways that diabetes can be prevented and if you are suffering from diabetes, especially type 1, you must pay close attention to the disease and make sure that you are managing your insulin levels appropriately to avoid complications or even death.

Prevention - Type 2 diabetes is responsible for 90% of diabetes in America. The good news is most cases of type 2 diabetes are preventable. Your risk factors go up if you are overweight, have a family history of diabetes or have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes during a pregnancy. Simply increasing your activity level, making good food choices and maintaining a healthy weight can help you prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes and cuts your risk factors by half.

Manage – Managing your diabetes is your number one priority if you have type 1 diabetes. Communicating with your physician and creating a diabetes management plan is key to avoiding other health complications associated with the disease such as blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke and loss of toes, feet or legs. It is important to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle as well.

What Is Physicians East Doing?

Physicians East has increased the size of our Endocrinology Department to help provide the appropriate resources needed to address diabetes in Pitt County. Since the number of diabetes cases is predicted to double in the next ten years, programs must be put in place now to try to halt this epidemic. One out of three adults is said to have prediabetes. Nine out of ten of those adults do not know they have it. This is why it is important to communicate with your doctors and schedule regular wellness exams and screenings, especially if you have increased risk factors. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, be sure that you are working with your physician to manage the disease and that you are maintaining a healthy diet and exercise plan. We are here to help you do this and help educate our community on the importance of diabetes prevention and management. To schedule your appointment with Physicians East Endocrinology, please contact us at 252-413-6683 or if you are an existing patient you can schedule your appointment online.


World Health Organization
American Diabetes Association
2014 State of the County Health Report
Diabetes North Carolina