BRISTOL, Tenn. -

Tennessee ranks the 4th highest in the nation in type two diabetes and Virginia isn't far behind at number 23.

Thursday, Bristol Regional Medical Center hosted their annual diabetes symposium.

The free event targets health care providers in our area and informs them how to care for their patients.

When a person has diabetes, it can lead to other medical problems such as heart or kidney disease.

That was the main focus of Thursday's conference, to recognize the impact diabetes has on other medical conditions a person might have.

Assistant Director for Wellmont Treatment Centers, Jim Perkins, tells us one of the reasons we see a higher risk of type two diabetes in our community is because of lack of diet and exercise.

"You're going to see a higher level simply because we're educated on it, physicians are aware of it, and they report it … so you're going to see sometimes a higher level," adds Perkins.

Perkins also says, specifically in Sullivan County, type two diabetes ranks highest among the top five counties in Tennessee.