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The growing epidemic of Diabetes; 26 million impacted

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Twenty six million people live with diabetes and a third do not even know it. 

According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes causes more deaths each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. 

"Diabetes is rising, it's an epidemic," says Cathy Reeder-McIntosh at the Forsyth Diabetes Center. 

She says Type 2 diabetes is the most common form and the most preventive. 

"Untreated over time [diabetes] causes severe complications; heart disease, blindness, kidney disease… So we really need to catch it early to treat it and prevent it,” she said.

Forsyth Medical Center started screening admitted patients in 2010. Since then they've identified more than 1,600 patients previously undiagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. 

"Our point was let’s catch it early, let’s do prevention, let’s get education fast because we don’t want to see them in the hospital," said Reeder-McIntosh.

Your risk of Type 2 diabetes can be dramatically reduced with a healthy weight, exercise and good eating habits. To see if you are at risk for Type 2 diabetes click here to take a risk test from the American Diabetes Association.