Diabetes is a Serious Disease
Nearly 24 million Americans age 20 or older, which is nearly eight percent of the U.S. population, have diabetes. Of these, nearly 6 million Americans do not know they have the diseases. Combined with the 57 million Americans age 20 and older who have a condition called pre-diabetes, the condition is a serious health concern.
Balintfy: The statistics on diabetes are a concern for health leaders.
Rodgers: In 2007, a total of 1.6 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed.
Balintfy: Dr. Griffin Rodgers is director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Rodgers: Just to sort of look at that statistic a slightly different way, there are more than 4,000 new cases of diabetes diagnosed every 24 hours, and nearly — there are 200 non-traumatic amputations that occur because of diabetes, amputations of the lower extremities that occur because of diabetes every 24 hours. There are 128 patients who end up with end-stage kidney disease, requiring either dialysis or kidney transplant, every 24 hours because of diabetes. Fifty people will go blind every day because of diabetes, and there are more than 800 cases of individuals who die, the sole reason being diabetes every day.
Balintfy: But Dr.Rodgers adds that new research shows that early treatment can reduce the risk of diabetes complications.
Rodgers: As soon as patients are diagnosed with diabetes, getting their blood sugar, their blood pressure and their cholesterol under control is much better in newly onset, because what we’re finding is it’s much easier to prevent these complications in newly diagnosed patients, than in patients that have had the disease for decades or certainly many, many years.
Balintfy: He emphasizes that the disease can be managed with medication, and healthy food choices and exercise can also help.
Rodgers: For example, physical activity and maintaining physical activity 30 minutes a day on most days, or certainly five days a week, is a good place to start because that tends to maintain the blood sugar in more normal range.
Balintfy: For more information about diabetes and resources to help learn more about preventing and managing the disease, visit www.YourDiabetesInfo.org. This is Joe Balintfy, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.