Diabetes remains pervasive in San Antonio as doctors warn 1-in-6 are diagnosed locally

‘The prevalence of diabetes in the United States is about 10%. Here in San Antonio, it is over 16%.’

SAN ANTONIO – More than 16% of San Antonio residents have diabetes, according to UT Health San Antonio.

The latest census numbers show our area has more than 1.4 million people, which equates to more than 220,000 members of our community with diabetes.

“Fast food. You know, we do construction, so it’s like no good time to have a good meal. But you’ve got to make that an important thing in your life,” said Jeff Cubbage.

Like many in our community, Cubbage is grabbing food on the go for convenience. That all changed two years ago.

“I knew something was wrong. You kind of feel like it’s old age. Maybe you’re getting older,” he said.

Cubbage and his wife then saw the doctor and were both diagnosed with diabetes.

“It wakes you up. It tells you, you know — the mortality comes to you that you need to do right by yourself,” he said.

Cubbage is just one of the hundreds of thousands who are fighting the disease locally.

The problem of diabetes here in San Antonio is tremendous. The prevalence of diabetes in the United States is about 10%. Here in San Antonio, it is over 16%, which means that one out of six people have diabetes. And one of the three people has pre-diabetes,” said Dr. Carolina Solis-Herrera, chief of the endocrinology division at UT Health San Antonio.

So why is diabetes such a ubiquitous issue here?

“It is environmental diet, hereditary, sedentary and also close to the border where our sibling country of Mexico has a very high prevalence of diabetes as well,” Carolina Solis-Herrera said.

Diabetes is pervasive around our country and San Antonio, but there are lifestyle changes you can make, like living more actively and changing your eating habits, focusing on vegetables, grains, and protein.

“The message is that diabetes and obesity are the two greatest pandemics of our lifetime, so they go hand in hand. When you start gaining weight, your sugar starts going up. So when you lose weight, your sugar starts coming down,” Carolina Solis-Herrera said.

The doctor said 80% of the patients with diabetes are overweight or obese. And this is why it’s so important to control your weight, precisely what Cubbage has done.

“I probably lost 50 or 60 pounds,” he said.

With this new lifestyle, Cubbage and his family have big plans on the horizon.

“The next thing we’re going to do is Florida for Disney. Is it to take all the grandkids,” Cubbage said.

And he has a message for anyone watching — especially those hesitant to go to the doctor.

“I would 100% encourage you to go get your A1C checked out because it will change your life,” Cubbage said.

There are more resources on diabetes and opportunities to check your sugar here.

Find more health stories on KSAT.com here

About the Authors:

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.

Azian Bermea is a photojournalist at KSAT.