2023 Diabetes Action PlanDiabetes is a relentless disease that affects many families in Arizona and across the United States. A new report from ADHS explains just how much diabetes impacts our state’s health care system and communities, and recommends ways to improve the health of Arizonans by reducing the burden of diabetes.

With a goal of achieving health equity, the 2023 Arizona Diabetes Action Plan and Report details ways to tackle diabetes directly and indirectly through prevention, supporting adequate care, and addressing the social determinants of health.

Diabetes is now the seventh-leading cause of premature death in Arizona and greatly contributes to early disability. Almost 600,000 adults in Arizona live with diabetes, and nearly 2 million have prediabetes, which can lead to diabetes if not treated properly. 

Other health issues can result from improper management of diabetes, such as stroke, kidney disease, heart disease, blindness, lower leg amputation, nerve damage, and death. Those with diabetes have a 50% higher risk of premature death.

In Arizona, the combined yearly direct and indirect costs of diabetes are $6.8 billion. That includes $5.1 billion in direct medical costs and $1.7 billion in indirect costs related to  absenteeism, reduction in work productivity, early disability, and mortality.

There are three main types of diabetes. Type 1, usually diagnosed in children and young people, is a lifelong condition that results in the body not making insulin. Patients require daily injections of insulin. 

Type 2 accounts for 95% of all diabetes cases. With this type, the body can make insulin but cannot use it properly to convert blood sugar into energy. The leading risk factors for Type 2 diabetes are being overweight, having a family history of diabetes, and not being physically active. Those older than age 45 are at higher risk, as are African Americans, Native Americans, and those of Hispanic origin. 

The third type, gestational diabetes, occurs in about 9% of pregnancies and increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes in both the mother and the child.

What can you do to lower your risk?

Be physically active: 2.5 hours of weekly aerobic activity is recommended for adults, as long as it’s done with at least moderate intensity for at least 10 minutes at a time.

Visit your doctor: Regular exams can identify problems before they become more serious. Getting the right health services, screenings, and treatments can improve your chances of better outcomes.

Eat a healthy diet: Put the emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk, and eat those comfort foods less often or in smaller amounts. 

Understanding a challenge is an important step toward addressing it. That’s why we’re pleased to share the 2023 Arizona Diabetes Action Plan and Report with all Arizonans.