MIAMI, OK.--- According to the CDC, 190,000 Oklahoma residents have diabetes. They estimate another 400,000 have it, but aren't aware.
"Statistic show that the average type 2 diabetic has diabetes for 7 years before it's ever diagnosed," states Linda Hollan, Diabetic Educator, Integris Baptist Hospital.
Those numbers are nearly triple than just 15 years ago. Experts say part of the increase is because many Native Americans are genetically prone to get the disease. Diet is a key contributor to the spread.
"Now we don't tell people that they can't have any particular food, we say look at portion sizes," states Hollan.
Experts say nearly every organ from head to toe is harmed when there is too much blood sugar in the body. For some residents, getting tested isn't a priority.
"I always put it off, figure oh that's one of the things I'll have to check into sometime, but I never do," states Emily Mutebi, Miami Resident.
"I imagine we should probably take better care of ourselves, and pay more attention to that but honestly, I do not," states Michele Bolton, Miami Resident.
"If you tell somebody they have cancer, guess what, they pay attention. If you tell someone they have diabetes, they may or may not pay attention," states Hollan.
Diabetes isn't curable, but it is treatable with a balanced diet, exercise, and weight loss. Left undiagnosed or untreated, the disease could take your life.