According to the American Diabetes Association, South Carolina ranks fourth in the nation for those diagnosed with the disease. African-Americans are almost twice as likely to have the disease as Whites; and 25% of all blacks between the ages of 65 and 74 have it.
Diabetes is a growing health concern for many Blacks. Columbia resident Monty Owens has been living with diabetes for nearly 20 years and says it's a daily struggle to manage the disease.
"It was sort of like it was a hidden bullet, because I didn't know I had it for all those years," said Owens.
For African-Americas the statistics are alarming.
"The doctor told me if I followed my instruction and took my medication, exercised and followed my strict diet that I could control my diabetes," said Owens.
He takes four different types of medication and knows without them, there could be serious consequences.
"I don't want to lose my eyesight, I don't want to lose my limbs," said Owens.
"Diabetes has no cure, but it's definitely manageable as long as people take care of themselves," said Christina Bickley with the American Diabetes Association.
Bickley knows the disease does not discriminate.
"It is a growing concern everyday," said Bickley. "We're diagnosing more kids, and more older adults and even middle-aged."
Monty Owens had warning signs that a diabetes diagnosis was coming. His sisters and several aunts have the disease. Now he says he's on a mission to end the troubling trend.
"Education is key to prevention," said Owens.
"It's really important to really make sure you focus on your health all throughout your life," said Christina Bickley.
On May 1, 2010 the American Diabetes Association is hosting a cycling event to raise awareness and money for diabetes research.