Education is most important weapon in fighting diabetes
LEIGH ZALESKI Daily Record/Sunday News | 09.27.13
Photo by Daily Record/Sunday News — Kate Penn
William and Mary Alt of Shrewsbury walk on the rail trail in New Freedom with their granddaughter, Cameron Blair, 12, on Aug. 8, 2013. William was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in March, and Mary says he has tried to make an effort to walk on a regular basis.
Many people don’t learn about Type 2 diabetes until it’s too late.
They often learn about its causes after they’ve been diagnosed, and they often learn about its complications after their bodies have begun to break down.
Some who have the chronic disease never come to understand it.
But it can be prevented and controlled. People have to eat right and exercise. If they develop the disease, living a healthy lifestyle becomes even more imperative — a long-term choice of life or death.
Consider the numbers:
- 20 million — At least how many Americans have Type 2 diabetes. By 2050, it’s estimated that 1 in 3 will have the chronic disease.
- 79 million — How many U.S. adults (more than one-third) are pre-diabetic.
- 2X — People who have Type 2 are twice as likely to die as those who don’t.
- 69,000 — How many Americans died from diabetes in 2011, a large majority from Type 2. It’s the seventh-leading cause of death nationwide, behind Alzheimer’s disease.
- $245 billion — What diabetes cost the U.S. in 2012, a 41 percent increase since 2007. The costs continue to skyrocket as more Americans become obese and sick with the disease.
Type 2 used to be known as adult-onset diabetes because it typically affected people 40 and older. Now, it affects kids in middle school and sometimes even toddlers.
Once someone develops the disease, she can live a healthy life provided she manage it daily. Mismanagement often leads to blindness, heart attack, high blood pressure, amputations, kidney failure, stroke and death.
There’s no medication or procedure that can cure the illness. However, if people eat right, exercise and maintain a healthy weight, they can lower their chances of developing the disease or improve their chances of avoiding complications if they already have it.
Experts continue to search for ways to halt the insidious epidemic. But with a disease as complex as its roots, the solution is complicated.
YDR health reporter Leigh Zaleski was a guest on Radio Smart Talk, which featured Type 2 diabetes