Diabetes: An American Epidemic?
Q: My grandfather passed away recently of a diabetes-related heart attack. Since then, my family has been concerned with who is susceptible for getting the disease. Who is at risk for diabetes? Could I get it? I have noticed a few “signs” that he had that I am starting to develop, such as frequent urination, a constant thirst and the feeling of “something” lacking in my normal diet. Should I be tested?
A: Thanks for your interesting and important question. Talk about an epidemic! Diabetes incidence is soaring. The New York Times ran a recent article under the title “The Diabetes Explosion,” and “skyrocketing” was the verb they used. In 1935, there were 1.5 million people with diabetes in America. In 1965 there were 2 million. Today there are 16 million, and the number is projected to increase to 22 million by 2025.
This soaring incidence is a huge concern because the
diagnosis of diabetes carries with it tremendous costs in disease complications.
Common co-conspirators include greatly increased tendency toward heart
disease and circulatory problems, high blood
pressure, blindness and kidney
failure. Almost every American family has been touched, as has yours,
in one way or another by the dreadful collection of health problems that
diabetes directly causes.
Perhaps 30 percent of people with diabetes are as yet undetected,
and early diagnosis and treatment are very important.
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