People living in rural America have higher diabetes risk

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Living in the countryside of the United States comes with its own set of challenges, especially when it comes to health.

People in these areas often find it harder to deal with diabetes, a common health condition, compared to those living in cities or suburbs.

Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine decided to look into how serious this problem really is.

They found out that people living in smaller towns, with populations ranging from 2,500 to 50,000, are facing a tougher battle with diabetes.

These individuals are more likely to suffer from serious health issues related to diabetes, such as heart attacks and kidney problems, than those in larger towns and cities.

Their study, which was detailed in the journal Diabetes Care, involved checking the health records of almost 3 million adults with diabetes all over the U.S. for ten years up to 2021.

The findings were clear: people from small towns were 10% more likely to have a heart attack, 5% more at risk of heart failure, and 4% more likely to end up with severe kidney disease compared to their urban counterparts.

Dr. Rozalina McCoy, the lead researcher, explained that rural dwellers were found to be at higher risk for eight out of eleven diabetes-related health complications they checked.

One particularly alarming discovery was that these individuals had a 15% higher chance of experiencing dangerously low blood sugar levels, a sign that their diabetes isn’t being managed well.

Interestingly, about 14% of the study participants lived in small towns, 83% were from cities, and 3% resided in very remote areas with less than 2,500 people. The research also hinted at why rural residents might be struggling more with diabetes.

They often have less access to diabetes specialists, education on how to manage their diabetes on their own, and regular checks for diabetes-related health problems.

Even more curious was the finding that those in the most remote areas seemed to have a lower chance of being diagnosed with certain diabetes complications. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re in better health.

The study suggests this might be because people in remote areas have a hard time getting medical care. So, even if they have serious health issues, these might not be recorded if they can’t reach a doctor.

Dr. McCoy pointed out that this highlights the bigger issue at hand: people in remote areas might be suffering from severe health problems but can’t get the medical help they need.

Despite the increases in health risks being relatively small, they represent a significant problem because over 5 million Americans with diabetes live in these small towns.

Mark T. Gladwin, a senior figure at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, emphasized the urgent need for better medical services in rural areas.

To help tackle this issue, there’s a plan to introduce a new program that will bring medical students to Maryland’s rural Eastern Shore, aiming to lessen the health disparities faced by the residents there.

This study sheds light on the pressing health challenges faced by rural Americans, especially those with diabetes, and the need for improved healthcare services in these communities.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies about new way to achieve type 2 diabetes remission, and one avocado a day keeps diabetes at bay.

For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies about 5 dangerous signs you have diabetes-related eye disease, and results showing why pomegranate is super fruit for people with diabetes.

The research findings can be found in Diabetes Care.

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