"Diabetes is preventable," said Ronald Harris, M.D., an endocrinologist at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center.
said the area's aging population might also play a role - almost 27 percent of people 65 and older had diabetes, according to CDC data from 2010.
"And that goes up even more if you have a family history, or if you have those risk factors like being overweight, having high cholesterol," he
Both Harris and Kaberi-Otarod
said there needs to be a deeper focus locally on reaching those at risk of developing the disease.
Geisinger has developed a system in which diabetic patients' progress - from blood sugar readings and blood work to whether they have received certain vaccines and foot checkups - is tracked through electronic medical records.
said there needs to be more resources to make sure diabetics are receiving preventive treatment and making lifestyle changes necessary to avoid diabetes complications like blindness, kidney failure, strokes and foot problems that can result in amputations.
said the growing emphasis on the concept of medical homes - where a doctor coordinates the different types of care a patient to increase both efficiency and value - will likely result in access to more resources for diabetics and others struggling with chronic disease.
"Doctors and patients need to work together," Harris