Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Numbers on Diabetes

It’s fairly common these days to hear diabetes described as an epidemic, one that carries enormous costs for the health care system and the national in general. However, how large is this “diabetes epidemic” and how much does it really cost? I have to admit I was a little surprised when I read some recent numbers on the matter.

One - According to a study released by the ADA, the American Diabetes Association, there are one million new diabetes cases reported each year.

Two – More than a quarter million Americans died in 2007 as a result of diabetes.

Three – The treatment of diabetes is nearly as costly to the nation as cancer. How much are talking about in round numbers? About 174 billion dollars a year, more than the cost of Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq war combined.

Of course, the sad thing about type II diabetes is that, unlike type I cases (type I diabetes is an autoimmune disorder), the majority of type II cases were entirely preventable. How do you ensure that you never develop type II diabetes? In most cases, this can be done by staying physically active, avoiding excess body weight, and maintaining a diet that restricts the intake of processed foods and food items that are “heavy” on simple sugars.

Here’s another statistic that everyone who is diabetic, or even pre-diabetic, should heed: diabetes increases the time people stay in the hospital by fifty percent.

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