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Ball State: Diabetes rising at alarming rate

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An alarming 15.4 percent of Hoosier adults have either diabetes or pre-diabetes, and those rates have been rising steadily for nearly two decades, according to a new report from Ball State University.

Ball State’s Global Health Institute reported that 475,000 Hoosiers have diabetes and another 273,000 have elevated blood sugar levels that typically lead to diabetes.

In 1993, only 3.8 percent of Hoosier adults had full-blown diabetes, compared with 9.8 percent today. The most common forms of diabetes are brought on by poor eating-and-exercise habits.

"We believe that all Hoosiers should be concerned about the alarming increase in diabetes in this state because it is a major physical and financial challenge for both individuals and their families," said Kerry Anne McGeary, GHI director and Phyllis A. Miller professor of health economics in the Miller College of Business.

Diabetes can lead to many other diseases, including heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and even loss of limbs.

It also is expensive to manage, with frequent blood glucose testing, antidiabetes pills and sometimes injections of insulin. The typical diabetic patient spends $11,744 per year on health care, compared to $2,935 for a person without diabetes, McGeary said.

Ball State’s report was based on an analysis of data from the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a telephone health survey system from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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