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The Diabetes Epidemic, Worldwide Health Care Costs
and Its Awful Toll

By Richard Dafter - for

An article appeared in the New York Times entitled Diabetes and Its Awful Toll Quietly Emerge as a Crisis and it has literally been on my mind ever since. The reason that I have given that article so much thought is that I keep asking the question, "why?" Although we hear so much about the possibility of a bird flu epidemic, why are we not addressing an epidemic that we already face, that is, for the most part, preventable. According to one estimate, "Diabetes sufferers worldwide will more than double to 366 million by 2030, making diabetes a global epidemic." In addition, "The number of people with diabetes worldwide is rising so quickly that governments and social security systems may not be able to keep up with expenses by 2025. It's estimated that health care for people with diabetes worldwide already costs at least $153 billion each year and health care costs could increase to $396 billion during this timeframe.

In New York City alone, according to the article, 800,000 adult New Yorkers - more than one in every eight - now have diabetes making it a bona fide epidemic. "Diabetes has no cure. It is progressive and often fatal, and while the patient lives, the welter of medical complications it sets off can attack every major organ. As many war veterans lost lower limbs last year to the disease as American soldiers did to combat injuries in the entire Vietnam War. Diabetes is the principal reason adults go blind. So-called Type 2 diabetes, the predominant form, is creeping into children, something almost unheard of two decades ago. The American Diabetes Association says the disease could actually lower the average life expectancy of Americans for the first time in more than a century."

Type 2 diabetes is not an airborne or waterborne disease. It occurs, for the most part, in people, including children, who are overweight and can often be prevented or controlled with careful attention to diet and exercise. That, again, is why I keeping asking the question, "why?" If you can help prevent getting diabetes, an incurable, lifelong disease simply by exercising, watching what you eat and controlling your weight, why would you unnecessarily put yourself at risk with a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits?
After reading, Diabetes and Its Awful Toll Quietly Emerge as a Crisis, you, too, may be asking the same questions...

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