Not the news you want to hear
Statistics published in the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet, issued jointly by the Center for Disease Control and other U.S. health organizations, provide an alarming reminder that the early years of middle age, starting around age 45, are years of increased health risks. That is the time in life when an unhealthy lifestyle may catch up with many of us. A time in which many are likely to join the ranks of the millions of Americans who are already diagnosed as having diabetes, a serious and incurable disease that in many cases is accompanied by significant discomfort and a diminished quality of life.
The Fact Sheet states that more than twice as many cases of diabetes were diagnosed in the age group 45 to 64 than for the younger group of aged 20 to 44. Looking farther ahead, with people living longer on average nowadays, many people will have had to cope with the burden of diabetes for more than half their lives. A depressing thought.
To interject a more positive remark, diabetes can be prevented.
But first, it is important to examine some of the dangers posed by diabetes. The Fact Sheet advises that there are 19 million or more Americans currently diagnosed as having diabetes and an estimated additional 7 million who have the disease but don’t know it — and diabetes is associated with many complications, some of which are life threatening if left untreated for too long. And the numbers of diabetes cases are known to be growing. In 2010, there were almost 2 million newly diagnosed cases of diabetes in people aged 20 years and older. And an almost unbelievable 79 million Americans are estimated to have a related condition called pre-diabetes. From those numbers combined, it looks like almost a third of the population are having problems related to diabetes.
The complications associated with diabetes
Major consequence of the disease are the increased risks of developing heart disease with the result that the death rate in diabetic adults is 2 to 4 times higher than adults who do not have diabetes. And there is a lot more, diabetes is a leading cause of other diseases, including kidney disease, new cases of blindness, non-trauma lower limb amputations, and in men – impotence.
But diabetes can be prevented — though it cannot be cured
These facts are presented here not just to be scaremongering but to motivate into action and initiate measures that will prevent the disease occurring in the first place, remember, once diagnosed it’s too late to be prevented, it can only be brought under control, mainly through the adoption of a modified diet, addition of exercise where possible, and perhaps medication. And those are basically the same actions needed to prevent the disease.
On a more positive note, there is more about diabetes to be found at Normal Blood Sugar Levels and for associated health conditions of high blood sugars, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, see Triple Threat.