November is National Diabetes Month and health officials say that should serve as a wake-up call to Alabama especially.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Alabama has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the country at over twelve percent. The National Diabetes Education Program is promoting a campaign to encourage diabetics to take control of their condition through education and awareness.
Dr. Griffin Rodgers is an expert on diabetes at the National Institutes of Health. He says a lack of awareness about the disease can be especially dangerous.
"One in four people, on average, are unaware that they have diabetes, and of course, if you aren't diagnosed, you aren't being treated, and there are serious health problems associated with having untreated diabetes for some prolonged period of time. Heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, amputations, and even death."
Several Alabama hospitals are also coordinating a new program to collect and share data on the disease.