Photo: 190129-health-diabetes

Nurse practitioner Pamela Larocque works at Appledore Medical Group in Portsmouth.

PORTSMOUTH — With about 1.5 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes every year, a local nurse practitioner is offering tips to help prevent “the silent killer.”

Pamela Larocque works at Appledore Medical Group and says people who get their weight under control, increase their activity levels and seek medical guidance can stave off the onset of Type II diabetes.

“It doesn’t have to be inevitable,” Larocque said.

Larocque said people should feel free to talk with their doctors about their concerns if they believe diabetes may be an issue in the future.

“In the past, people were told, ‘You have prediabetes’ and it would scare them,” Larocque said. “There are a lot of things they can do to prevent it from becoming diabetes.”

According to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the Granite State. Over 9 percent of the adult population has been diagnosed with diabetes and just under 7 percent of New Hampshire adults have prediabetes.

DHHS officials say Type II diabetes increases the risk of heart disease, hospitalizations, lower extremity amputations, kidney disease, vision loss and death.

For people who have been diagnosed with Type II diabetes, Larocque said some of the newer medications are cardiac protective and can help people with weight loss.

Larocque said monitoring blood sugar levels helps patients as they work to get those numbers under control. There are new devices on the market that don’t require a patient to prick their finger with a needle and come at a reasonable price, she said.

According to the American Diabetes Association, 2015 data shows 30.3 million Americans, or 9.4 percent of the population, had diabetes. More than 29 million Americans were diagnosed with Type II diabetes.

The ADA released research in March 2018 that estimates the total costs of diagnosed diabetes rose to $327 billion in 2017 from $245 billion in 2012, when the cost was previously estimated.

Those numbers include $237 billion in direct medical costs and $90 billion in reduced productivity, according to officials at the ADA.