WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - One Middle Georgia woman was surprised to find out she was living with diabetes, and that's the case for many people. The Georgia Department of Community Health reports Middle Georgia has among the highest rate of Type II Diabetes in the state.
"I was thirsty, I started losing weight real fast," said Ana Morales, Type II Diabetes.
Those are common signs of diabetes, but some that Ana Morales didn't recognize as anything serious.
"My vision started getting real bad and that's when I decided to go to the doctor," explained Morales.
Ana was diagnosed with the Type II Diabetes at 41. Ana thought she lived a healthy life. She never imagined she would be affected by the disease, even though diabetes runs in her family.
"Lack of education about the disease I've noticed and lack of exercise," said Betty Mifflin, Houston County Volunteer Clinic.
The Care Manager and Resource Specialist at Houston County Volunteer Clinic, Betty Mifflin, says Ana is like most patients at the clinic. They don't know any better and they don't know what signs to look for. Many patients don't eat right or exercise and they can't afford to see a doctor.
"I've seen the need for insulin increase tremendously not just from the clinic, but from the emergency room at both hospitals," said Mifflin.
Mifflin says diabetes isn't going anywhere until education is a priority and people know what to look for. About 60% of people who visit the clinic suffer from diabetes.
Ana has lived with diabetes for more than 20 years and she's had to make some sacrifices.
"I don't eat too much, but I love sweets so that was one of the things I had to cut down on," said Morales.
Ana says she'd take knowing about her disease and getting it under control, rather than putting her health at risk.
The Georgia Department of Community Health reports the rates will, in many cases, exceed 10% of Middle Georgia's population.
For resources about diabetes and to find out if you qualify for assistance, call the Houston County Volunteer Clinic at (478) 542-9069.