JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and one Mississippi doctor wants to make sure that Mississippians avoid the disease.

According to the American Diabetes Association, an estimated 20,433 people in Mississippi are diagnosed with diabetes ever year. Approximately 326,420 people have the disease. Officials with the association said an additional 75,000 people in the state have diabetes but don’t know it.

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects how a person’s body turns food into energy, which results in too much sugar in the blood.

There are three main types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational. Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune reaction, and Type 2 is when the insulin isn’t taken properly through the body.

Symptoms of diabetes can consist of an increase in urination, tiredness, increase in thirst, sores that heal slowly, weight loss, blurry vision, and a numb or tingling sensation through hands and feet.

Dr. Geri Weiland said the best way to prevent or maintain a healthy life while having diabetes is to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle.

“You want to make sure that blood levels are staying below a six,” said Weiland. “By doing this, you can do things like exercising, even if that means taking some steps in everyday.”

Weiland said patients can also cut out fatty foods from their diet and drink more water.

The Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi (DFM) will host the Mississippi Walk for Diabetes on November 11, 2023, in Oxford.