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What you need to know about diabetes and ways to lower your risk

Did you know about 13.3% of Kentuckians have diabetes?

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It’s Diabetes Alert Day and UofL Health is using the day as an opportunity to raise awareness on the severity of the diagnosis and what you can do to lower the risk.

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects how the body turns food into energy.

There are multiple types of diabetes – but the most common causes are obesity and inactive lifestyles. The institute also says as you get older, you’re more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, about one in five Americans are living with diabetes or 8.5 million people are unaware they have the disease.

RELATED: Kentucky law capping insulin cost for many goes into effect

This disease is very common in Kentucky.

A Cabinet for Health and Family Services 2021 report states about 13.3% of adults or 464,000 Kentuckians had diabetes in 2019. The commonwealth has the 4th highest mortality rate from the disease and African Americans are much more likely to die from the disease than whites.

Experts with UofL Health recommend talking to doctors about the risk of the disease.

“Try to follow recommendations on healthy eating, lifestyle – physical activity. Try to increase physical activity and see what your risk is and follow up,” Dr. Sri Mokshagundam said.

If you are an adult 35 or older, doctors recommend being tested for diabetes and prediabetes.

UofL Health offers a diabetes prevention program, focusing on each patient’s needs and helps them individually or enrolls them in education classes.

Lawmakers also signed a bill into law earlier this year capping the cost of insulin for most Kentuckians. Gov. Andy Beshear called that legislation "game-changing."

Want to know if you're at risk for Type 2 diabetes? Click here for a test.

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