November is American Diabetes Month

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has themed this year’s theme is, “How will you stop Diabetes? The future is in your hands.According to the ADA, 24 million American have Diabetes (25% of whom are not diagnosed) and 57 million American have pre-Diabetes. In 2007, the cost of Diabetes was about $174 billion, $116 billion is direct medical costs (according to the CDC).  Want to learn more about what Diabetes is? The ADA has a great animation called “Type 2 Lou” that will teach you all the basics.

I am writing this post after reading an article in USA Today about the CDC‘s projected rise in Diabetes over the next 40 years published in the journal Population Health Metrics. It is estimated that 1 in 3 Americans will have Diabetes by 2050, which would equate to 21-33% of the US Population. Two suggested reasons for this include the incessant rise in obesity and the increasing diversity in America – many minority groups have an increased genetic predisposition for Diabetes.

Why is this such a big deal? Diabetes is the number one cause of adult blindness, kidney failure, and limb amputation. It is also a huge risk factor for heart disease and is a major contributor to heart attacks and strokes. Recent studies have linked diabetes to cancer and lung disease according to the article in USA Today. The article interviewed David Kendall, chief scientific and medical officer of the ADA, who states that the health care costs associated with Diabetes could easily double in the next 20 years.

Interested in cutting health care costs? One approach could be taking charge of our own health. What can  you do? Walk more and eat a balanced diet. Research has shown that walking can be as effective as the front line Diabetes medicine (Metformin) and most Americans do not get nearly enough exercise. On a similar note, most Americans do not eat enough fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean protein, or whole grain products.

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