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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county & community efforts.
By Florida Department of Health
November 01, 2022
Ocala, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health in Marion County recognizes November as National Diabetes Awareness Month. The Department seeks to improve education about how this disease adversely affects our community, and to promote the need for local residents to understand their status and seek medical care, if necessary.
Marion County’s annual death rate from diabetes has exceeded that of Florida as a whole each year since 2008, according to Florida Department of Health data.
The gap between the two reached the widest point in recent memory in 2020, the most recent year for which data is available. Diabetes-related deaths locally ran 53 percent above all of Florida. Overall, diabetes kills 35 of every 100,000 Marion County residents.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes is the nation’s seventh-leading cause of death and that may be underreported. CDC estimates that 20% of American adults with diabetes don’t know they have it.
Additionally, the most recent data show that 16.8% of adults in Marion County were told at some point that they have diabetes, well above the statewide ratio of 11.7%.
Marion County also slightly outpaces the rest of Florida in terms of adults who have ever been told they are prediabetic, a condition where blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough to be diagnosed as full-blown diabetes. Marion’s most recent rate was 9.7%, compared to 9.1% for all of Florida.
The first step to avoid or overcome diabetes is knowing your status. County residents may assess their personal risk by taking our quick online test at, or one given by the American Diabetes Association at
Left untreated, diabetes can increase one’s risk of stroke, high blood pressure and heart disease. If not treated, the disease can also cause blindness, increase the risk of contracting infections, lead to nerve damage, or instigate foot problems by damaging the body’s circulatory system.
The good news is that diabetes can be managed through a combination of diet, exercise, and, if necessary, medication.
As noted, you must first understand your status. One-third of American adults are considered prediabetic, and more than 80% of them don’t know they have the condition, the CDC reports.
If an exam reveals that you are prediabetic or diabetic, consult with your healthcare provider about a course of action to keep it in check.
You can also learn more about diabetes by attending classes through DOH-Marion’s Diabetes Empowerment and Education Program, a six-week series that helps participants better understand their condition and self-care. The next class is scheduled for early in 2023. Check our website for more information about this program.
Diabetes can be deadly, but only if it’s undiagnosed and untreated.
About the Florida Department of Health
The Department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @HealthyFla. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit

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