Alabama’s #9 Health Concern

Alabamians identified diabetes as the ninth greatest current health concern in Alabama. Fortunately, it is possible to obtain comprehensive data on the status of diabetes from data collected by ADPH’s Center for Health Statistics on diabetes mortality, data from Medicaid, Medicare, and BCBS on insurance and claims.

Diabetes is a serious health condition which can result in limb amputation, the need for dialysis, or even death. Because of a lack of screening and health services, diabetes is often diagnosed when it begins to have serious health consequences. Many people in Alabama have diabetes but do not know that they have it. Many diabetics can be treated with changes in diet and exercise, if the condition is detected in its early stages. Diabetes takes a heavy toll in the African American population and in the elderly. It is especially prevalent in rural areas. Diabetes is highly related to obesity and a lack of exercise.

Alabama Diabetes Highlights

Alabama had the third highest prevalence of diabetes in the United States in 2012. In addition, diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in 2013, with 1,346 dying of the disease. More than 12 percent of Alabama’s adults have been diagnosed with diabetes, but many with the condition are undiagnosed. African Americans are significantly more likely to have and to die of diabetes. Diabetes is inversely related to income and education. Diabetes risk increases dramatically with age. Also, diabetes often operates in tandem with heart disease, stroke, blindness, renal failure, and poor circulation causing debilitation. Poor diets, high in fats and processed sugars, and lack of exercise are risk factors for diabetes. Type I diabetes is hereditary but Type II is due to life style factors.

Health Indicators

The following indicators have been selected for use in developing a benchmark or starting point for measuring the current state of and monitoring future changes regarding the elderly population of Alabama:


Page last updated: June 5, 2019