El Paso is a growing and flourishing community. Not only is the county of 800,000 plus residents growing precipitously, but it is the westernmost tip of the great state of Texas with vast desert landscapes and mountains, and it is a border town that connects with a major metropolitan area of neighboring Mexico. Our population and demographics are unique. Statistics show that the area sees a high number of diabetes-related issues and as your primary care clinic, we want to explore some of these numbers and provide guidance on how to seek diabetes management and treatment.
Why does El Paso seem to have a high number of diabetes cases? What factors might contribute to the city’s high ranking of diabetes-related doctor visits?
We thought we’d explore the numbers while revisiting some critical information on diabetes management and care.
An Overview of Diabetes Management and Why Prevention and Detection are Critical
The body needs the energy to function. Our bodies consume energy and turn that into fuel for our day-to-day activities. It’s what keeps you moving throughout the day. The body’s mechanisms for turning food into usable energy are quite sophisticated and involve one of the major controlling systems of the body: the endocrine system.
The key organs to the production and regulation of glucose are:
- The pancreas
- The liver
- The kidneys
The pancreas secretes necessary hormones that include glucagon and insulin to regulate and balance energy metabolism. When people have diabetes, it’s due to a lack of insulin production or a type of misfiring in the production of insulin. In other words, it’s possible that the body doesn’t respond adequately to the produced insulin, thus causing an imbalance.
An imbalance will cause too much blood sugar in your system which can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, weight gain, loss of energy, and even loss of vision.
Diabetes Prevalence in West Texas and El Paso
According to recent CDC data (2020) 34.2 million Americans, which is about 1 in 10, have diabetes. The data also suggests that cases are higher among non-Hispanic black and the Hispanic population. According to El Paso Inc, nearly 55,000 adults age 20 and over were diagnosed with diabetes in 2016. In El Paso, that totals up to about 9.6% of the population.
In El Paso, there is a mixture of genetic components along with external factors. This can be due to several causes, although some health experts in the area suggest that it is connected to sedentary lifestyles and the foods that are customary in the area and in the demographic. According to other local data, adults over the age of 65 see the most prevalence of diabetes, followed by the 45-64 age group.
Diabetes and COVID-19
During the Covid pandemic, the Rio Grande Valley saw a high number of hospitalizations. The pandemic had a widespread effect on the community and the region. Experts deduced that these high number of hospitalizations were connected with the high number of diabetes cases in the area, as covid attacked those with conditions such as diabetes in a much more intense way. In El Paso, many residents learned they had diabetes for the first time as they went in with covid symptoms.
3 Things You Need to Know if You Think You are at Risk
Taking charge of your health is all about informing yourself and being consistent with treatments or checkups. Here at Transmountain Primary Care, we offer regular diabetes management and care, helping people take control of their health.
#1 Know the common symptoms
Having some basic information on well-known symptoms can help in knowing what to look out for. This is not an exhaustive list and many of these signs also overlap with other conditions, so it’s just a starting point. Some of the most common warning signs include:
- Frequent urination
- Increased hunger
- Common irritability
#2 You don’t need to be overweight to have diabetes
As Harvard Health reports, diabetes can strike people that appear to have perfectly normal weight. We usually associate it with a condition that is just for people struggling with their weight. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates that people with normal weight can be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and even have twice as much risk of suffering heart disease.
#3 Prediabetes is a real thing
You may have heard commercials for the condition called prediabetes. This condition is a precursor to diabetes and can develop into diabetes. As people are diagnosed with prediabetes, this might be an indication that it is necessary to take steps towards lifestyle changes. For people that have a genetic predisposition, getting tested for prediabetes can be helpful.
Choose Quality Diabetes Management and Care in El Paso
At Transmountain Primary, we help people become proactive about their health and manage their diabetes. Whether you think you might be at risk due to family members or have experienced some of the symptoms, get checked.
Call us today and make an appointment. Take control of your health with quality primary medical care.