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Diabetes: The Story Behind the Stats

December 10, 2012

Of all the things that can rob you of a long, healthy life, none looms larger than diabetes. From blindness to the loss of limbs to the high cost of the nation’s health care bill, diabetes looms large. In this post to HeatlhConnection, the UT Health’s Dr. David Shafer talks about recognizing and acting on risk factors for diabetes.

Questions:

  1. Nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States, 8.3 percent of the population, have been diagnosed with diabetes. Has the number always been this high?
  2. The American Diabetes Association estimates that in addition to the 8.3 percent of the population that is diagnosed with the disease, another seven percent is undiagnosed. How do you have diabetes and not know it?
  3. Another alarming statistic tells us that there are 79 million people who are pre-diabetic. What does pre-diabetic mean?
  4. How do you test for pre-diabetes?
  5. If you have pre-diabetes, is diabetes inevitable?
  6. Sixty percent of all non-traumatic lower limb amputations occur in people with diabetes. If you have diabetes, what is the likelihood that you will lose a toe or a foot or a leg to amputation?
  7. What is the connection between diabetes and the risk for lower extremity amputation?
  8. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults age 20 to 74. Why?
  9. Nearly 13 percent of African-Americans and nearly 12 percent of Hispanics have diabetes but only 7.1 percent of the white population is diabetic. Why the difference?
  10. One in three children that were born in 2010 will develop diabetes during their lifetimes. How do we reverse this shocking trend?
  11. Recognizing the impact of obesity on the risk for diabetes and recognizing diabetes’ impact on the cost of health care, if we as a society went back to weighing what we did in the 1950s and 1960s, what impact would that have on the nation’s overall health care bill?
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