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Diabetes rates in Adams and Pike county are among the highest in Illinois

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QUINCY (WGEM) -- A little over 1 in 10 people over the age of 20 years old in Pike and Adams county has diabetes, according to Blessing Hospital.

Local health officials say it's due to a lack of access to healthcare in rural areas and a lack of awareness of the warning signs.

Now they want people to know how to avoid it, before it's too late.

Theresa Reel began her journey with diabetes 10 years ago.

She says there's a long line of people in her family that has the disease, but she never thought it would be her.

"I didn't really realize that I did have diabetes. I was always hoping that I'd be one in the family that didn't get caught," Reel said.

Blessing Hospital Certified Diabetes Educator Debra Derhake says knowing your risks is crucial.

"Sedentary lifestyles, so kind of that couch potato, someone who's not getting that regular physical activity, family history of diabetes," Derhake said.

Derhake says this disease can cause a lot of damage to the body.

"It also can cause many other conditions. Increase your risk for heart attack or stroke. So its very important to catch it early," Derhake said.

She says there is no cure for diabetes, only ways to manage it.

"The best thing that you can really do is follow that healthy diet, work on regular exercise, stress management, but there's not one big fix all," she added.

Reel says sweets were her weakness, but diabetes has changed her life.

"You've just got to really know your body and know that when you're having specific symptoms and stuff to actually talk to your doctor and actually get the lab work you need," Reel said.

Derhake says the Blessing Diabetes Center offers a program to educate diabetic patients and family members on the disease and how to best manage it.

Your provider has to refer you to the program.

Derhake says there are several warning signs to be aware of like:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Unintentional weight loss

Charity Bell

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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