Heart of the Valley: Diabetes prevalence in the Valley
The Rio Grande Valley has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the entire country.
The rate is 18% above the national average, according to recent data from the University of Texas Health School of Public Health in Brownsville.
Oftentimes, a lot of people don't even know they have diabetes. That's why it's so important to get screened for it.
All month long, there's going to be free screenings happening all across the Valley at different South Texas Health System locations.
For a look at free diabetes screenings throughout the Valley during the month of April, visit our Heart of the Valley page.
There is a cost when it comes to diabetes, both financially and to your health.
This disease breaks your body bit by bit, affecting not only your lifestyle but, if left unchecked, it could affect your family. Which is why experts express the importance of getting a health screening.
South Texas Health System in Alamo offers free screenings every Monday starting at 11 a.m.
Between medical cost and lost work and wages, the cost of diabetes is $327 billion a year, and the medical cost are twice as high for people with diabetes compared to those who don't have it.
The longer it goes undiagnosed, the worse it can get.
"We need to be sure they understand that the problem is real, that heart attacks, strokes, amputations, renal diseases that take to dialysis, blindness, all of them are consequences of diabetes." South Texas Health System bariatric surgery Specialist Dr. Luis Reyes said.
Diabetes is preventable and reversible. It starts with a diagnosis, and then it's up to patients to live a healthy lifestyle, have good eating habits and get regular health screenings.
Information about free health screenings at South Texas Health System or at HEB locations will be available throughout the month here.