PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - According to the Florida Department of Health in Bay County, between 2016 and 2017 around 26,000 people had diabetes in Bay County.
Millions are affected by diabetes every year. (USAF / MGN)
Nationally, that number rises to more than 30 million.
That's why health department officials want locals to be mindful of their health and what's on their plates this holiday season.
"So, here around the holidays when we're all thinking about food and our favorite dishes, we want to think about things like portion control, and healthy recipes," said Marsha Sumner with the Florida Department of Health in Bay County.,
Officials say not only during Diabetes Awareness Month but year round, it's good practice to keep an open dialogue about the disease.
If you are concerned, the health department offers many services to help.
"We do provide diabetes self-management education classes as well as diabetes prevention classes for persons who have pre-diabetes. People don't really realize that pre-diabetes is actually a bigger epidemic than diabetes," said Sumner.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 84 million American adults have pre-diabetes and 90 percent don't know they have it.
Officials say proper screening, dieting, and other lifestyle changes could lead to a much easier road later in life.
"We can extend their life, possibly even prevent the Type 2 diabetes from ever even happening, and prevent those complications that come along with it," said Sumner.
Copyright 2019 WJHG. All rights reserved.